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Novel Photon Technology Boosts Breast Imaging Accuracy

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 26 Sep 2018
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Image: An innovative prone CT scans the breast without compression (Photo courtesy of AB-CT).
Image: An innovative prone CT scans the breast without compression (Photo courtesy of AB-CT).
An innovative dedicated breast computerized tomography (CT) scanner offers short scan times utilizing state-of-the-art photon-counting technology.

The AB-CT (Erlangen, Germany) nu:view is the first breast CT scanner based on spiral CT technology, integrating a custom X-ray tube and a detector specifically designed for breast scanning. Beside the X-ray components, the system includes proprietary image reconstruction software optimized for the highest image quality and best dose usage, thus providing excellent low-contrast resolution for soft-tissue differentiation, and high spatial resolution that allows full three dimensional (3D) images of the breast without superimposition, enhancing calcification detectability.

In a single spiral rotation around the female breast, 2,000 projection images are created; but in contrast to conventional scintillation, nu:view uses detectors made of cadmium telluride (CdTe), which transform every x-ray photon directly into an electric pulse. Benefits of the system include fast acquisition times of 7-12 second per scan; low dose levels, in the range of diagnostic mammograms; clinical integration with picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and radiological information systems (RIS); and an improved patient experience, as nu:view does away with breast compression.

“For the first time we have a CT scanner that makes is possible to acquire an image of the entire female breast in a single scan in true 3D, imaging both the soft tissue and the calcifications,” said Benjamin Kalender, CEO of AB-CT. “What sets nu:view apart is the very high image resolution coupled with low radiation dose and short scan times. To obtain the best possible image quality and maximize radiation dose efficiency at the same time, the detector uses state-of-the-art single photon counting technology.”

“The images are impressive, the image quality is excellent. Compared to mammography, the three dimensional, non-superimposed images make it far easier to detect micro-calcifications,” said Professor Andreas Boss, MD, of the institute for diagnostic and interventional radiology at University Hospital Zurich (Switzerland), and the first user of nu:view. “This non-compressive method also means less discomfort for the patient and reduces the number of additional ultrasound images into the bargain.”

Spiral CT is used to scan tissues in a helical path, which allows more images to be taken in a shorter time than with older CT methods. Spiral CT can also achieve improved image resolution for a given radiation dose, compared to individual slice acquisition.

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