Digital mammography is the current standard for breast cancer screening, however breast tomosynthesis and breast CT
(bCT) have been studied in clinical trials. At our institution, 30 women (BIRADS 4 and 5) underwent IRB-approved
imaging by mammography, breast tomosynthesis, and bCT on the same day. Twenty three data sets were used for
analysis. The 2D noise power spectrum (NPS) was computed and averaged for each data set. The NPS was computed
for different slice thicknesses of dx × N, where dx ≈ 0.3 mm and N=1-64, on the bCT data. Each 2D NPS was radially
averaged, and the 1D data were fit using a power law function as proposed by Burgess: NPS(f) = αf-β. The value of β was determined over a range of frequencies corresponding to anatomical noise, for each patient and each modality.
Averaged over the 30 women (26 for bCT, 28 for tomosynthesis, 28 for mammography), for mammography β=3.06
(0.25), for CC tomosynthesis β=2.91 (0.35), and for axial bCT β=1.72 (0.47). For sagittal bCT β=1.77 (0.36) and for
coronal bCT, β=1.88 (0.45). The computation of β versus slice thickness on the coronal bCT data set led to β≈1.7 for
N=1, asymptotically reaching β ≈ 3 for larger slice thickness. These results suggest that there is a fundamental
difference in breast anatomic noise as characterized by β, between thin slices (<2 mm) and thicker slices. Tomosynthesis
was found to have anatomic noise properties closer to mammography than breast CT, most likely due to the relatively
thick slice sensitivity profile of tomosynthesis.