Purpose: To investigate optimal gradation processing parameter for soft-copy reading comparing the parameter recommended for hard-copy with other parameters. Materials and methods: Digital mammograms using a Computed Radiography system were evaluated. The gradation processing parameter recommended by the manufacturer was GA (1.2). We prepared seven parameters that changed the degree of contrast: GA (0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, and 1.8). Images of an anthropomorphic breast phantom were displayed on a 5-megapixel liquid crystal display monitor using each parameter. Three readers independently assessed each image, and scored for the following items: intramammary contrast, extramammary contrast, sharpness, and graininess. Total score was calculated in each parameter. We also displayed normal mammograms of nine cases: three with a scattered fibroglandular density, three with a heterogeneously dense breast, and three with an extremely dense breast. These were displayed using GA (1.2) or using parameters with a higher total score than GA (1.2) in the phantom test. Three readers assessed each mammogram as in the phantom test. Results: In phantom test, GA (1.4), GA (1.6), and GA (1.8) obtained higher scores than GA (1.2). In normal cases tested using these parameters, GA (1.4) obtained the highest score. This was significantly higher than that of GA (1.2) (P = 0.004). The score obtained for GA (1.4) was the highest in cases with extremely dense and heterogeneously dense breast tissue, though there was no statistically significant difference. Conclusion: Soft-copy image quality was improved by gradient processing using higher contrast parameter than that routinely used in hard-copy, especially in dense breast cases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging