Full-field digital mammography
- U Bick1
© Current Science Ltd 2000
Published: 1 October 2000
Due to the extremely high image quality requirements in mammography, there has for a long time been no adequate digital alternative to conventional film-screen mammography. The longest experience so far exists with digital mammography on the basis of storage phosphor (CR) systems. However, at normal dose this technique has a relatively poor signal-to-noise ratio and has not found general acceptance. Recently, three novel systems for digital mammography by Fischer (slot-scan detector), Trex (CCD-array) and GE (amorphous silicon detector) have been introduced and are currently under clinical investigation.
Initial results from clinical trials indicate that the new digital mammography systems are at least equivalent to film-screen mammography in the detection of breast cancer. The main advantage of digital mammography lies in the linear relationship between dose and detector signal with the possibility of a tailored optimisation of image contrast. This may lead to improved detection of early or subtle cancers especially in patients with dense parenchyma. Other advantages include digital storage, telemammography and computer-aided diagnosis.