A human observer study for evaluation and optimization of reconstruction methods in breast tomosynthesis using clinical cases

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


In breast tomosynthesis1 (BT) a number of 2D projection images are acquired from different angles along a limited arc. The imaged breast volume is reconstructed from the projection images, providing 3D information. The purpose of the study was to investigate and optimize different reconstruction methods for BT in terms of image quality using human observers viewing clinical cases. Sixty-six cases with suspected masses and calcifications were collected from 55 patients. Four different reconstructions of each image set were evaluated by four observers (two experienced radiologists, two experienced medical physicists): filtered back projection (FBP), iterative adapted FBP (iFBP) and two ML-convex iterative algorithm (MLCI) reconstructions (8 and 10 iterations) that differed in noise level and contrast of clinical details. Representation of masses and microcalcifications was evaluated. The structures were rated according to the overall appearance in a rank-order study. The differently reconstructed images of the same structure were displayed side by side in random order. The observers were forced to rank the order of the different reconstructed images and their proportions at each rank were scored. The results suggest that even though the FBP contains most noise its reconstructions are considered best overall, followed by iFBP, which contains least noise. In both FBP and iFBP methods the sharp borders and mass speculations were better represented than in iterative reconstructions while out-of-plane artifacts were better suppressed in the latter. However, in clinical practice the differences between the reconstructions may be considered negligible.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • breast tomosynthesis, iterative reconstruction, filtered back, projection, human observer study
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2011: Physics of Medical Imaging
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
EventConference on Medical Imaging - Physics of Medical Imaging, 2011 - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: 2011 Feb 132011 Feb 17

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1996-756X
ISSN (Electronic)0277-786X


ConferenceConference on Medical Imaging - Physics of Medical Imaging, 2011
CountryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL