Distributed source x-ray tube technology for tomosynthesis imaging

Patrick, Yoder Fletcher Yoder S. An X-ray imaging system, comprising: The X-ray imaging system of claim 1, wherein the one or more distributed X-ray sources are configured to remain stationary with respect to an imaging volume.

Distributed source x-ray tube technology for tomosynthesis imaging

Shield may be completely circular in front elevation, as illustrated by the circle that includes an arc in broken line in FIG. In that case, gantry can rotate through a complete circle in the CT mode.

As an alternative, shield can leave open a sector or segment a illustrated in FIG. Specifically, as illustrated in FIG. One of the possible positions of gantry and tube and receptor housing is shown in solid lines.

Shield bulges away from central opening c in a direction away from columnto allow the patient's breast to reach and become immobilized in unit while the patient's body is separated by shield from the rotating components, namely gantry and x-ray source and receptor housing Opening c may be made larger, and may be shaped differently from the illustration in FIGS.

Portions of shield may be removable or hinged to further facilitate access. For example, one or both of the portions of shield above broken lines d and e may be removable or hinged such that they can be moved out of the way while the technician is positioning and immobilizing the patient's breast, and put back to protect the patient before scanning in the CT mode starts.

In the example of FIGS. Thus, the patient can lean forward, partly into cutout b so that more of the beast being imaged, and possibly surrounding tissue, can come into the x-ray imaging field. Another challenge in upright breast CT is how to immobilize the breast.

In some cases, for various reasons little or no compression of the breast may be desirable. In other cases, it may be desirable to compress or otherwise act on the breast, for example so that breast tissue can be pulled away from patient's chest wall and securely retained in unit for imaging.

To this end, and to generally increase patient comfort, at least one, and preferably both, of plates a and b have concave facing surfaces as seen in FIG.

Plates a and b may be removably secured so that different sets of plates can be used to accommodate differently sized or shaped breasts.

Distributed source x-ray tube technology for tomosynthesis imaging

Different degrees of breast compression can be used as selected by a health professional operating the system of FIGS. In still other cases, it may be desirable to use other means to pull breast and chest wall tissue into the x-ray imaging field, such as providing a cup-shaped or funnel-shaped enclosure into which the breast and possibly surrounding tissue is pulled by vacuum, adhesion or other means, as illustrated in block diagram form in FIG.

Yet another challenge in upright breast CT is that the path lengths of x-rays through the breast may differ depending on the part of the breast they traverse. For example, the path lengths through breast portions at or near the nipple may be much shorter than those near the chest wall.

Distributed source x-ray tube technology for tomosynthesis imaging

When operating in the CT mode, the x-ray technician can shape the patient's breast as it is being immobilized in unit using an x-ray transparent pillow or similar items to make the breast cross-section nearly uniform by pushing the nipple end toward the chest wall and securing the so-shaped breast in unitto thus nearly equalize the x-ray path lengths through the breast.

As an alternative that does not involve so shaping the immobilized breast, a shaped x-ray filter can be used in the housing of x-ray tube to shape the x-ray energy distribution of the imaging x-ray beam so that beam hardness increases in the direction from the nipple toward the chest wall.

As yet another approach, x-ray path lengths can be equalized or at least made more uniform by a suitably shaped x-ray attenuating material arranged around the breast, in the path of the x-ray beam from the x-ray source.

Use of the system in a tomosynthesis mode is illustrated in FIGS. In particular, x-ray source is further from unit and columnand receptor housing is closer to unit In the tomosynthesis mode, the patient's breast also is immobilized between plates a and b, which remain in place during imaging.

In one example, x-ray tube and receptor housing may undergo a rotation about the immobilized breast that is similar to that in the CT mode operation but is through a smaller angle. A respective two-dimensional projection image Tp taken for each increment of rotation while x-ray tube and imaging receptor inside housing rotate as a unit, fixed with respect to each other, as in the CT mode or as illustrated in principle in commonly assigned U.

Alternatively, the motions of x-ray tube and receptor relative to the immobilized breast can be as in said system offered under the trade name Selenia Dimensions of the common assignee, certain aspect of which are described in commonly owned U.

In this alternative case, x-ray tube rotates about the central axis of axlebut receptor housing remains in place while imaging receptor rotates or pivots inside housing about an axis that typically passes through the image plane of the receptor, is parallel to the central axis of axleand bisects imaging receptor The rotation or pivoting of receptor typically is through a smaller angle than the rotation angle of x-ray tubecalculated so that a normal to the imaging plane of receptor can continue pointing at or close to the focal spot in x-ray tube from which the imaging x-ray beam is emitted, and so that the beam continues to illuminate all or most of the imaging surface of receptor Tomosynthesis is attracting attention as a low-dose tomography technology compared with X-ray CT.

However, conventional tomosynthesis imaging devices are large and stationary.

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Furthermore, there is a limitation in the working range of the X-ray source during image acquisition. We have previously. This patent specification pertains to x-ray imaging of the breast and, more specifically, to a system for selectively imaging a breast of an upright patient in one or more of a CT mode, one or more tomosynthesis modes (e.g., narrow angle breast tomosynthesis and wide angle breast tomosynthesis), and a mammography mode.

Mammography is a dedicated radiographic technique for imaging the breast.. Types of mammography. In general terms, there are two types of mammography: screening and diagnostic.

Mammography differs significantly in many respects from the rest of diagnostic imaging. Tomosynthesis imaging requires projection images from different viewing angles. Conventional systems use a moving xray source to acquire the individual projections.

Using a stationary distributed x-ray source with a number of sources that equals the number of required projections, this can be achieved without any mechanical motion.

The core component of the s-DBT system is a specially designed spatially distributed multi-beam x-ray tube based on the carbon nanotube field emission x-ray technology.

Release Summary. GE Healthcare today announced the FDA approval of SenoClaire*, GE’s new breast tomosynthesis solution designed with a three-dimensional imaging technology.

XinRay Systems | Nanotechnology in Imaging