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28 February 2012 Signal-known exactly detection performance in tomosynthesis: does volume visualization help human observers?
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Tomosynthesis produces three-dimensional images of an object, with non-isotropic resolution. Tomosynthesis images are typically read by human observers in a stack viewing mode, displaying planes through the tomosynthesis volume. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether human performance in a signal-known exactly (SKE) detection task improves when the entire tomosynthesis volume is available to the observer, compared to displaying a single plane through the signal center. The goal of this study was to improve understanding of human performance in order to aid development of observer models for tomosynthesis. Human performance was measured using sequential 2-alternative forced choice experiments. In each trial, the observer was first asked to select the signal-present ROI based on a single 2D tomosynthesis plane. Then, scrolling was enabled and the observer was able to select the signal-present ROI, based on knowledge of the entire volume. The number of correct decisions for 2D and 3D viewing was recorded, and the number of trials was recorded for which a score increase or decrease occured between 2D and 3D readings. Test images consisted of tomosynthesis reconstructions of simulated breast tissue, where breast tissue was modeled as binarized power-law noise. Tomosynthesis reconstructions of designer nodules of r = 250μm, r = 1mm, r = 4mm were added to the structured backgrounds. For each signal size, observers scored 256 trials with signal amplitude set so that the proportion of correct answers in the single slice was 90%. For two observers, a slight increase in performance was found when adjacent tomosynthesis slices were displayed, for the two larger signals. Statistical significance could not be established. The number of decision changes was analyzed for each observer. For these two observers, the number of decision changes that led to a score increase or decrease were outside the 95% confidence interval of the decision change being random, indicating that for these two observers, displaying the tomosynthesis stack did boost performance. For the other two observers, decision changes that increased or decreased the score were within the 95% confidence interval of guessing, indicating that the decision changes were due to a satisfaction of search effect. However the results also indicate that the performance increase is small and the majority of information appears to be contained in the tomosynthesis slice that corresponds to the center of the lesions.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
I. Reiser and R. M. Nishikawa "Signal-known exactly detection performance in tomosynthesis: does volume visualization help human observers?", Proc. SPIE 8318, Medical Imaging 2012: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 83180K (28 February 2012);

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