Study of breast implants mammography examinations for identification of suitable image quality criteria

Cláudia Sá dos Reis, Isabelle Gremion, Nicole Richli Meystre

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: To characterise the mammography technique used in breast cancer screening programmes for breast implants (BI) and to identify if the image quality (IQ) criteria available in literature are applicable to BI imaging. Methods: The study was conducted in two phases: literature review to find IQ criteria used in mammography combining keywords in several sources; and assessment of 1207 BI mammograms using the criteria that was identified previously to see if they were achieved or not. An observation grid was used to collect information about positioning, beam energy, compression force, and exposure mode. Descriptive statistics and Student’s t test and χ2 test were performed according to the nature of the variables. Results: Forty-seven out of 2188 documents were included in the analysis, with 13 items identified to assess the quality of positioning, 4 for sharpness, 3 for artefacts, and 2 for exposure parameters. After applying the criteria to BI mammograms, retroglandular fat was not included in 37.3% of the images. The “Pectoral-Nipple-Line” criterion was achieved in 35% of MLO/ML images. The placement of the implant (subpectoral/subglandular) or performing the Eklund had significant influence on the visible anatomy (p = < 0.005), alongside whether the breast was aligned to the detector’s centre. Conclusions: Some of the criteria used to assess standard mammograms were not applicable to BI due to implant overlap. The alignment of the image with the detector’s centre seems to have an impact on the amount of visible tissue. Further studies are necessary to define the appropriate protocol, technique, and suitable quality criteria to assess BI mammograms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalInsights into Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Breast compression
  • Breast positioning
  • Eklund
  • Prostheses
  • Radiographers practice


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