A statistically defined anthropomorphic software breast phantom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Digital anthropomorphic breast phantoms have emerged in the past decade because of recent advances in 3D breast x-ray imaging techniques. Computer phantoms in the literature have incorporated power-law noise to represent glandular tissue and branching structures to represent linear components such as ducts. When power-law noise is added to those phantoms in one piece, the simulated fibroglandular tissue is distributed randomly throughout the breast, resulting in dense tissue placement that may not be observed in a real breast. The authors describe a method for enhancing an existing digital anthropomorphic breast phantom by adding binarized power-law noise to a limited area of the breast. Methods: Phantoms with (0.5 mm)3 voxel size were generated using software developed by Bakic Between 0 and 40 of adipose compartments in each phantom were replaced with binarized power-law noise (β 3.0) ranging from 0.1 to 0.6 volumetric glandular fraction. The phantoms were compressed to 7.5 cm thickness, then blurred using a 3 × 3 boxcar kernel and up-sampled to (0.1 mm)3 voxel size using trilinear interpolation. Following interpolation, the phantoms were adjusted for volumetric glandular fraction using global thresholding. Monoenergetic phantom projections were created, including quantum noise and simulated detector blur. Texture was quantified in the simulated projections using power-spectrum analysis to estimate the power-law exponent β from 25.6 × 25.6 mm2 regions of interest. Results: Phantoms were generated with total volumetric glandular fraction ranging from 3 to 24. Values for β (averaged per projection view) were found to be between 2.67 and 3.73. Thus, the range of textures of the simulated breasts covers the textures observed in clinical images. Conclusions: Using these new techniques, digital anthropomorphic breast phantoms can be generated with a variety of glandular fractions and patterns. β values for this new phantom are comparable with published values for breast tissue in x-ray projection modalities. The combination of conspicuous linear structures and binarized power-law noise added to a limited area of the phantom qualitatively improves its realism.


External organisations
  • University of Chicago
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medical Image Processing


  • anthropomorphic breast phantom, phantom, power-law noise, simulation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3375-3385
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes