A phantom or imaging phantom is a highly specialized object utilized in medical imaging for quality control, equipment calibration, dosimetry and education. The use of the name is used interchangeably for each object despite their differences.
Anthropomorphic phantoms are objects that simulate patients, made of materials with similar tissue characteristics as normal biological organisms. Due to their availability and likeness to real patients, anthropomorphic phantoms can be used for a variety of tasks. Rather than image multiple patients, anthropomorphic phantoms can be used for trial and error to asses the optimal use of radiation such as in new protocols or image reconstruction techniques 1-3. On that same premise, anthropomorphic phantoms can be utilized for teaching staff different imaging techniques or exposure factors. Recent advancements in 3D printing technology are improving the development of anthropomorphic phantoms to better mimic patient tissue 2.
A calibration phantom is often a cylinder, or plate with densities of already known values. They are utilized in quality control to ensure images are reconstructing the imaged phantom to the correct density values. Deviation from these values can indicate a need for imaging equipment service.
- 1. Stephen J. Glick, Lynda C. Ikejimba. Advances in digital and physical anthropomorphic breast phantoms for x‐ray imaging. (2018) Medical Physics. 45 (10): e870. doi:10.1002/mp.13110 - Pubmed
- 2. Leng S, Yu L, Vrieze T, Kuhlmann J, Chen B, McCollough CH. Construction of Realistic Liver Phantoms from Patient Images using 3D Printer and Its Application in CT Image Quality Assessment. (2015) Proceedings of SPIE--the International Society for Optical Engineering. doi:10.1117/12.2082121 - Pubmed
- 3. Moloney F, Twomey M, James K, Kavanagh RG, Fama D, O'Neill S, Grey TM, Moore N, Murphy MJ, O'Connor OJ, Maher MM. A phantom study of the performance of model-based iterative reconstruction in low-dose chest and abdominal CT: When are benefits maximized?. (2018) Radiography (London, England : 1995). 24 (4): 345-351. doi:10.1016/j.radi.2018.04.010 - Pubmed