Physics in Medicine and Biology vol:56 issue:14 pages:4221-38
Assessment of image quality for digital x-ray mammography systems used in European screening programs relies mainly on contrast-detail CDMAM phantom scoring and requires the acquisition and analysis of many images in order to reduce variability in threshold detectability. Part II of this study proposes an alternative method based on the detectability index (d') calculated for a non-prewhitened model observer with an eye filter (NPWE). The detectability index was calculated from the normalized noise power spectrum and image contrast, both measured from an image of a 5 cm poly(methyl methacrylate) phantom containing a 0.2 mm thick aluminium square, and the pre-sampling modulation transfer function. This was performed as a function of air kerma at the detector for 11 different digital mammography systems. These calculated d' values were compared against threshold gold thickness (T) results measured with the CDMAM test object and against derived theoretical relationships. A simple relationship was found between T and d', as a function of detector air kerma; a linear relationship was found between d' and contrast-to-noise ratio. The values of threshold thickness used to specify acceptable performance in the European Guidelines for 0.10 and 0.25 mm diameter discs were equivalent to threshold calculated detectability indices of 1.05 and 6.30, respectively. The NPWE method is a validated alternative to CDMAM scoring for use in the image quality specification, quality control and optimization of digital x-ray systems for screening mammography.