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Design of a breast phantom for quantitative MRI



Kathryn E. Keenan, Sheye O. Aliu, Lisa J. Wilmes, David C. Newitt, Ella F. Jones, Wen Li, Michael A. Boss, Nola M. Hylton


Purpose: We present a breast phantom designed to enable quantitative assessment of measurements of T1 relaxation time, apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), and other attributes of breast tissue, with long-term support from a national metrology institute. Materials and Methods: A breast phantom was created with two independent, interchangeable units for diffusion and T1/T2 relaxation, each with flexible outer shells. The T1 unit was filled with corn syrup solution and grapeseed oil to mimic the relaxation behavior of fibroglandular and fatty tissues, respectively. The diffusion unit contains plastic tubes filled with aqueous solutions of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) to modulate the ADC. The phantom was imaged at 1.5T and 3.0T using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and common breast coils from multiple manufacturers to assess T1 and T2 relaxation time and ADC values. Results: The fibroglandular mimic exhibited target T1 values on 1.5T and 3.0T clinical systems (25-75 percentile range: 1289 to 1400 msec and 1533 to 1845 msec, respectively) across all bore temperatures. PVP solutions mimicked the range of ADC values from malignant tumors to normal breast tissue (40% PVP median: 633×10-6 mm2/s to 0% PVP median: 2231×10-6 mm2/s) at temperatures of 17-24°C. The interchangeable phantom units allowed both the diffusion and T1/T2 units to be tested on the left and right sides of the coil to assess any variation. Conclusion: This phantom enables T1 and ADC measurements, fits in a variety of clinical breast coils, and can serve as a quality control tool to facilitate the standardization of quantitative measurements for breast MRI.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging


magnetic imaging, measurement variability, medical imaging


Keenan, K. , Aliu, S. , Wilmes, L. , Newitt, D. , Jones, E. , Li, W. , Boss, M. and Hylton, N. (2016), Design of a breast phantom for quantitative MRI, Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, [online], (Accessed May 25, 2024)


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Created January 1, 2016, Updated February 19, 2017