Design of optimal collimation for dedicated molecular breast imaging systems

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

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65 Scopus citations


Molecular breast imaging (MBI) is a functional imaging technique that uses specialized small field-of-view gamma cameras to detect the preferential uptake of a radiotracer in breast lesions. MBI has potential to be a useful adjunct method to screening mammography for the detection of occult breast cancer. However, a current limitation of MBI is the high radiation dose (a factor of 7-10 times that of screening mammography) associated with current technology. The purpose of this study was to optimize the gamma camera collimation with the aim of improving sensitivity while retaining adequate resolution for the detection of sub-10-mm lesions. Square-hole collimators with holes matched to the pixilated cadmium zinc telluride detector elements of the MBI system were designed. Data from MBI patient studies and parameters of existing dual-head MBI systems were used to guide the range of desired collimator resolutions, source-to-collimator distances, pixel sizes, and collimator materials that were examined. General equations describing collimator performance for a conventional gamma camera were used in the design process along with several important adjustments to account for the specialized imaging geometry of the MBI system. Both theoretical calculations and a Monte Carlo model were used to measure the geometric efficiency (or sensitivity) and resolution of each designed collimator. Results showed that through optimal collimation, collimator sensitivity could be improved by factors of 1.5-3.2, while maintaining a collimator resolution of either ≤5 or ≤7.5 mm at a distance of 3 cm from the collimator face. These gains in collimator sensitivity permit an inversely proportional drop in the required dose to perform MBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-856
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health, Grant No. CA128407.


  • Collimator design
  • Dedicated gamma camera
  • Molecular breast imaging


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