MicroDose is a trademark owned by Phillips, purchased from Sectra. It refers to line of mammography equipment advertising a very low radiation dose. This equipment is based on a photon-counting detector for capturing the image.
A photon-counting detector utilizes the discrete nature of X-rays, as it counts individual photons when they are captured in a detector medium. This is in contrast to “pseudo-digital” detectors that integrates photon energy over time, thus in practice measuring an analog signal that in turn is digitized. While the conversion steps from analog to digital signal in a traditional detector introduces thermal noise, quantization errors and loss of information during signal processing, a truly digital detector suffers from none of these weaknesses. A photon-counting detector is capable of capturing close to all information in the signal. This way it is possible to lower the radiation dose to a minimum while preserving or even improving image quality.
There are today very few commercially available microdose modalities. The first to hit the market was a mammography system, mainly targeted for intense breast screening programs. Breast examinations is one of the most demanding with respect to image quality, as early detection of cancerous changes relies on finding micro-calcifications in the breast tissue. These tiny structures can be perceived by a trained eye, but only as far as the image quality allows. At the same time, the significance of low dose comes particularly apparent in screening programs, as a large part of a population is targeted.
- M. Lundqvist, B. Cederström,V. Chmill, M. Danielsson and B. Hasegawa, “Evaluation of a photon-counting x-ray imaging system”, IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, Vol 48 (4), pp. 1524-1529, 2001
- M. Danielsson, H. Bornefalk, B. Cederström, V. Chmill, B. Hasegawa, M. Lundqvist, D. Nygren and T. Tabár, “Dose-efficient system for digital mammography”, Proc. SPIE, Physics of Medical Imaging, vol. 3977, pp. 239-249 San Diego, 2000
- M. Lundqvist, M. Danielsson, B. Cederström, V. Chmill, A. Chuntonov, and M. Åslund, “Measurements on a full-field digital mammography system with a photon counting crystalline silicon detector”, Proc. SPIE, Physics of Medical Imaging, vol. 5030, pp. 547-552, San Diego, 2003
- B. Hemdal, L. Herrnsdorf, I. Andersson, G. Bengtsson, B. Heddson, M. Olsson, “Average glandular dose in routine mammography screening using a Sectra MicroDose Mammography unit”, PMID 15933152, PubMed, 2005