Molecular breast imaging using a dedicated high-performance instrument

Michael K. O'Connor, Douglas J. Wagenaar, Carrie B. Hruska, Stephen Phillips, Gina Caravaglia, Deborah Rhodes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


In women with radiographically dense breasts, the sensitivity of mammography is less than 50%. With the increase in the percent of women with dense breasts, it is important to look at alternative screening techniques for this population. This article reviews the strengths and weaknesses of current imaging techniques and focuses on recent developments in semiconductor-based gamma camera systems that offer significant improvements in image quality over that achievable with single-crystal sodium iodide systems. We have developed a technique known as Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) using small field of view Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) gamma cameras that permits the breast to be imaged in a similar manner to mammography, using light pain-free compression. Computer simulations and experimental studies have shown that use of low-energy high sensitivity collimation coupled with the excellent energy resolution and intrinsic spatial resolution of CZT detectors provides optimum image quality for the detection of small breast lesions. Preliminary clinical studies with a prototype dual-detector system have demonstrated that Molecular Breast Imaging has a sensitivity of ∼ 90% for the detection of breast tumors less than 10 mm in diameter. By comparison, conventional scintimammography only achieves a sensitivity of 50% in the detection of lesions < 10 mm. Because Molecular Breast Imaging is not affected by breast density, this technique may offer an important adjunct to mammography in the evaluation of women with dense breast parenchyma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHard X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Detector Physics and Penetrating Radiation Systems VIII
StatePublished - 2006
EventHard X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Detector Physics and Penetrating Radiation Systems VIII - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 14 2006Aug 17 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherHard X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Detector Physics and Penetrating Radiation Systems VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Breast cancer
  • Cadmium zinc telluride
  • Molecular breast imaging
  • Scintimammography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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