Tomosynthesis

Last revised by Joseph H Huntley on 14 Jan 2024

Tomosynthesis, also referred to as digital tomosynthesis, is an imaging modality similar to computed tomography (CT), but distinct in that it uses a more limited angle during image acquisition. Rather than 360-degree acquisition of a structure (as in CT), tomosynthesis involves an x-ray tube arcing over a stationary detector to capture an arc sweep of a single structure. This technique reduces the burden of overlapping tissues when assessing for single, stationary entities such as pulmonary nodules. One of the primary disadvantages of tomosynthesis is the anisotropic nature of its image resolution 1

Clinical applications 

The clinical applications tomosynthesis include breast tomosynthesis, chest imaging to improve pulmonary nodule detection, head and neck imaging for better visualization of the paranasal sinuses, dental imaging for better spatial resolution, musculoskeletal imaging for high-resolution imaging of complex fractures, and emergency imaging when CT is not readily available 2.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: asymmetric density - problem-solving with tomosynthesis
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  • Case 2: BI-RADS 5 breast mass
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  • Case 3: BI-RADS 5 breast mass
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