Acad Radiol 2007 Feb;14(2):207-18
Thayer School of Engineering, HB 800, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.
Rationale And Objectives: We have developed a microwave tomography system for experimental breast imaging.
Materials And Methods: In this article, we illustrate a strategy for optimizing the coupling liquid for the antenna array based on in vivo measurement data. We present representative phantom experiments to illustrate the imaging system's ability to recover accurate property distributions over the range of dielectric properties expected to be encountered clinically. To demonstrate clinical feasibility and assess the microwave properties of the normal breast in vivo, we summarize our initial experience with microwave breast exams of 43 women with negative mammography according to the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS 1).
Results: The clinical results show a high degree of bilateral symmetry in the whole breast average microwave properties. Focal assessments of microwave properties are associated with breast tissue composition evaluated through radiographic density categorization verified through magnetic resonance image correlation in selected cases. Specifically, both whole-breast average and local microwave properties increase with increasing radiographic density, in which the latter exhibits a more substantial rise.
Conclusion: These findings support our hypothesis that water content variations in the breast play an influential role in dictating the overall dielectric property distributions and indicate that the microwave properties in the breast are more heterogeneous than previously believed based on ex vivo property measurements reported in the literature.