Method for simulating dose reduction in digital mammography using the Anscombe transformation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: This work proposes an accurate method for simulating dose reduction in digital mammography starting from a clinical image acquired with a standard dose. Methods: The method developed in this work consists of scaling a mammogram acquired at the standard radiation dose and adding signal-dependent noise. The algorithm accounts for specific issues relevant in digital mammography images, such as anisotropic noise, spatial variations in pixel gain, and the effect of dose reduction on the detective quantum efficiency. The scaling process takes into account the linearity of the system and the offset of the detector elements. The inserted noise is obtained by acquiring images of a flat-field phantom at the standard radiation dose and at the simulated dose. Using the Anscombe transformation, a relationship is created between the calculated noise mask and the scaled image, resulting in a clinical mammogram with the same noise and gray level characteristics as an image acquired at the lower-radiation dose.Results: The performance of the proposed algorithm was validated using real images acquired with an anthropomorphic breast phantom at four different doses, with five exposures for each dose and 256 nonoverlapping ROIs extracted from each image and with uniform images. The authors simulated lower-dose images and compared these with the real images. The authors evaluated the similarity between the normalized noise power spectrum (NNPS) and power spectrum (PS) of simulated images and real images acquired with the same dose. The maximum relative error was less than 2.5% for every ROI. The added noise was also evaluated by measuring the local variance in the real and simulated images. The relative average error for the local variance was smaller than 1%. Conclusions: A new method is proposed for simulating dose reduction in clinical mammograms. In this method, the dependency between image noise and image signal is addressed using a novel application of the Anscombe transformation. NNPS, PS, and local noise metrics confirm that this method is capable of precisely simulating various dose reductions.


  • Lucas R. Borges
  • Helder C.R.De Oliveira
  • Polyana F. Nunes
  • Predrag R. Bakic
  • Andrew D.A. Maidment
  • Marcelo A.C. Vieira
External organisations
  • University of São Paulo
  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • Anscombe transformation, digital mammography, dose reduction, quantum noise
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2704-2714
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number6 Pt 1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes