Our study aim was to assess the radiation dose of digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) in comparison to full-field digital mammography (FFDM) in a clinical setting.
Materials and Methods
Two-hundred four patients were consecutively included, of which 236 complementary DBT and FFDM examinations were available. All acquisitions were performed on a single commercially available mammography system capable of FFDM and DBT acquisitions using an antiscatter grid. The average glandular dose (AGD) was calculated for each examination using the Dance method. For this, tube output and half-value layer were measured, and the required exposure parameters (target/filter material, tube voltage, tube load, compressed breast thickness) were retrieved from the DICOM metadata. The DBT and FFDM AGD values were pairwise tested, and a subanalysis with respect to breast thickness was performed.
The mean (SD) AGD values for a single-view DBT and FFDM were 1.49 (0.36) mGy and 1.62 (0.55) mGy, respectively, which are small but statistically significant differences. This difference may be partially attributed to the small difference in the mean breast thickness between FFDM and DBT (3 mm). In this patient population, the AGD was lower for DBT than for FFDM in 61% of the patients. When patients were categorized according to breast thickness, the AGD of DBT was only significantly smaller than the AGD of FFDM for breast thickness categories larger than 50 mm, indicating that the dose reduction for DBT compared with FFDM was more pronounced in thick breasts.
The radiation dose of patients undergoing a single-view DBT was comparable to a single-view FFDM. For patients with thicker breasts, the radiation dose of DBT was slightly lower than FFDM.