Objective: To investigate aspects of image quality, feasibility and patient comfort in dedicated spiral breast computed tomography (B-CT) in a large patient cohort.
Methods: This retrospective study was approved by the institutional review board. 2418 B-CT scans from 1222 women examined between 04/16/2019 and 04/13/2022 were analyzed. Patients evaluated their comfort during the examination, radiographers carrying out the scans evaluated the patient's mobility and usability of the B-CT device, whereas radiologists assessed lesion contrast, detectability of calcifications, breast coverage and overall image quality. For semi-quantitative assessment, a Likert-Scale was used and statistical significance and correlations were calculated using ANOVAs and Spearman tests.
Results: Comfort, mobility and usability of the B-CT were rated each with either "no" or "negligible" complaints in >99%. Image quality was rated with "no" or "negligible complaints" in 96.7%. Lesion contrast and detectability of calcifications were rated either "optimal" or "good" in 92.6% and 98.4%. "Complete" and "almost complete" breast coverage were reported in 41.9%, while the pectoral muscle was found not to be covered in 56.0%. Major parts of the breast were not covered in 2.1%. Some variables were significantly correlated, such as age with comfort (ρ = -0.168, p < .001) and mobility (ρ = -0.172, p < .001) as well as patient weight with lesion contrast (ρ = 0.172, p < .001) and breast coverage (ρ = -0.109, p < .001).
Conclusions: B-CT provides high image quality and contrast of soft tissue lesions as well as calcifications, while covering the pre-pectoral areas of the breast remains challenging. B-CT is easy to operate for the radiographer and comfortable for the majority of women.
Keywords: Breast; Breast neoplasms; Mammography; Spiral computed; Tomography