Collimator design for a dedicated molecular breast imaging-guided biopsy system: Proof-of-concept

Amanda L. Weinmann, Carrie B. Hruska, Amy L. Conners, Michael K. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Molecular breast imaging (MBI) is a dedicated nuclear medicine breast imaging modality that employs dual-head cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) gamma cameras to functionally detect breast cancer. MBI has been shown to detect breast cancers otherwise occult on mammography and ultrasound. Currently, a MBI-guided biopsy system does not exist to biopsy such lesions. Our objective was to consider the utility of a novel conical slant-hole (CSH) collimator for rapid ( <1 min) and accurate monitoring of lesion position to serve as part of a MBI-guided biopsy system. Methods: An initial CSH collimator design was derived from the dimensions of a parallel-hole collimator optimized for MBI performed with dual-head CZT gamma cameras. The parameters of the CSH collimator included the collimator height, cone slant angle, thickness of septa and cones of the collimator, and the annular areas exposed at the base of the cones. These parameters were varied within the geometric constraints of the MBI system to create several potential CSH collimator designs. The CSH collimator designs were evaluated using Monte Carlo simulations. The model included a breast compressed to a thickness of 6 cm with a 1-cm diameter lesion located 3 cm from the collimator face. The number of particles simulated was chosen to represent the count density of a low-dose, screening MBI study acquired with the parallel-hole collimator for 10 min after a ∼150 MBq (4 mCi) injection of Tc-99m sestamibi. The same number of particles was used for the CSH collimator simulations. In the resulting simulated images, the count sensitivity, spatial resolution, and accuracy of the lesion depth determined from the lesion profile width were evaluated. Results: The CSH collimator design with default parameters derived from the optimal parallel-hole collimator provided 1-min images with error in the lesion depth estimation of 1.1 ± 0.7 mm and over 21 times the lesion count sensitivity relative to 1-min images acquired with the current parallel-hole collimator. Sensitivity was increased via more vertical cone slant angles, larger annular areas, thinner cone walls, shorter cone heights, and thinner radiating septa. Full width at half maximum trended in the opposite direction as sensitivity for all parameters. There was less error in the depth estimates for less vertical slant angles, smaller annular areas, thinner cone walls, cone heights near 1 cm, and generally thinner radiating septa. Conclusions: A Monte Carlo model was used to demonstrate the feasibility of a CSH collimator design for rapid biopsy application in molecular breast imaging. Specifically, lesion depth of a 1-cm diameter lesion positioned in the center of a typical breast can be estimated with error of less than 2 mm using circumferential count profiles of images acquired in 1 min.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012503
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Mayo Clinic Foundation and a grant National Institutes of Health (NIH) (R21R33 CA 128407). The Mayo Foundation and three authors of this work (A. L. Weinmann, C. B. Hruska, and M. K. O’Connor) obtain royalties from licensing arrangements between the Mayo Foundation and Gamma Medica-Ideas.


  • biopsy
  • collimator
  • molecular breast imaging


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