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Medical radiology with synchrotron light

<p>Study for an anatomic couch for mammography examination on the SYRMEP beamline</p>

Study for an anatomic couch for mammography examination on the SYRMEP beamline

Conventional radiography allows contrast images to be obtained by aiming an X-ray beam at biological tissue and measuring variations of density, composition or thickness in the area being analysed by means of a suitably positioned detector. Sometimes, however, low absorption areas in the specimen being examined are difficult to distinguish from surrounding areas, making diagnosis difficult.


Elettra's contribution
A technique for image acquisition with synchrotron light, which allows X-rays of appropriate energy to be selected for the specimen under examination, has been developed at Elettra.
The "phase contrast" analysis provided by this technique can create images representing information arising not only from differences in light absorption, but also from interference between X-rays that have passed through the specimen. This twin capability is fundamental to revealing details of poorly contrasted specimens or those with indistinct boundaries.
The technique has been applied to the diagnosis of breast tumours in work conducted jointly with INFN, the University of Trieste and the Trieste health authority, and is currently undergoing clinical trials.
Results obtained to date confirm its value in requiring minimal doses of radiation to differentiate and characterise tissue details that are difficult to interpret by traditional methods of mammographic examination.


Facility: SYRMEP Beamline
Medical applications of synchrotron radiation at the SYRMEP; A. Abrami et al.; Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, 548, p. 221, 2005.