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  • Open Access

PB.10: Breast compression, compressed breast thickness and volumetric breast density

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Breast Cancer Research201315 (Suppl 1) :P10

  • Published:


  • Compression Force
  • Breast Density
  • Breast Volume
  • Gland Volume
  • Fibroglandular Tissue


Adequate compression of the breast during mammography is essential both for ensuring high-quality images and for accurate assessment of breast density using automated volumetric breast density software. Here we explore the relationship between breast density and imaging parameters.


We identified a set of 210 women undergoing routine screening mammography by the same experienced radiographer using the same mammography unit. Breast density data (breast volume, fibroglandular tissue volume) were obtained using Volpara™ 1.4.0 and imaging parameters (compression force, breast thickness and dose) were extracted from the DICOM headers. Statistical analysis using Spearman's rank-order coefficient was used to examine any existing relationships.


There were significant positive correlations (P < 0.01) between both breast volume and gland volume with compressed breast thickness, X-ray dose and compression force (P < 0.05). Volumetric breast density was negatively correlated with compression force in the CC view (P < 0.01) and thickness in all views (P < 0.01), and breast volume had a significant positive correlation with gland volume (P < 0.01).


Our results show that large, dense breasts had greater thicknesses, higher X-ray doses and required a greater compression force during mammography. There was insufficient evidence to determine whether higher compression forces in larger breasts were due to increased glandular content. The negative correlations with volumetric breast density expressed as the percentage of the breast volume occupied by dense fibroglandular tissue can be explained by the fact that the positive correlations with breast volume were stronger than those with gland volume.

Authors’ Affiliations

The University of Manchester Medical School, Manchester, UK
Nightingale Breast Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre, UHSM, Manchester, UK
Centre for Imaging Sciences, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, UK
Department of Medical Statistics, University Hospital of South Manchester, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK


© Khan-Perez et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.