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Breast mechanical imaging

In a pioneering project, we are using pressure sensors to investigate and improve breast imaging.

Mechanical imaging can be described as using pressure sensors to investigate the surface pressure of a compressed object. From the surface pressure, or stress, the local stiffness can be estimated. This is both useful and convenient in breast imaging: the breast is compressed during mammography, and be attaching sensors to the compression plate it is possible to map the distribution of pressure on the entire breast surface. We have used this technique for two purposes: 1. To investigate breast compression from a quality and comfort perspective and 2. To use the stiffness data diagnostically. Key findings from previous studies include that current breast compression practices fail to effectively compress a large proportion of breasts and thus often cause pain and discomfort for little benefit, and also that mechanical imaging in screening can help identify unclear mammography findings, reducing unnecessary screening recalls by up to 40%.

Currently, we are conducting a large clinical study aiming to include 1 000 women to investigate the use of mechanical imaging in screening. We are also further investigating the reproducibility of breast positioning and compression in mammographic imaging by quantifying the differences in pressure distribution.

Sophia Zackrisson and Magnus Dustler. Photo