In digital breast tomosynthesis and digital mammography, the x-ray beam filter material and thickness vary between systems. Replacing K-edge filters with Al was investigated with the intent to reduce exposure duration and to simplify system design. Tungsten target x-ray spectra were simulated with K-edge filters (50 μm Rh; 50 μm Ag) and Al filters of varying thickness. Monte Carlo simulations were conducted to quantify the x-ray scatter from various filters alone, scatter-to-primary ratio (SPR) with compressed breasts, and to determine the radiation dose to the breast. These data were used to analytically compute the signal-difference-to-noise ratio (SDNR) at unit (1 mGy) mean glandular dose (MGD) for W/Rh and W/Ag spectra. At SDNR matched between K-edge and Al filtered spectra, the reductions in exposure duration and MGD were quantified for three strategies: (i) fixed Al thickness and matched tube potential in kilovolts (kV); (ii) fixed Al thickness and varying the kV to match the half-value layer (HVL) between Al and K-edge filtered spectra; and, (iii) matched kV and varying the Al thickness to match the HVL between Al and K-edge filtered spectra. Monte Carlo simulations indicate that the SPR with and without the breast were not different between Al and K-edge filters. Modelling for fixed Al thickness (700 μm) and kV matched to K-edge filtered spectra, identical SDNR was achieved with 37-57% reduction in exposure duration and with 2-20% reduction in MGD, depending on breast thickness. Modelling for fixed Al thickness (700 μm) and HVL matched by increasing the kV over (0,4) range, identical SDNR was achieved with 62-65% decrease in exposure duration and with 2-24% reduction in MGD, depending on breast thickness. For kV and HVL matched to K-edge filtered spectra by varying Al filter thickness over (700, 880) μm range, identical SDNR was achieved with 23-56% reduction in exposure duration and 2-20% reduction in MGD, depending on breast thickness. These simulations indicate that increased fluence with Al filter of fixed or variable thickness substantially decreases exposure duration while providing for similar image quality with moderate reduction in MGD.
- digital breast tomosynthesis
- digital mammography
- x-ray filters
- x-ray spectra
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging