Tomosynthesis

Last revised by Dr Gerard Carbo on 10 Aug 2021

Tomosynthesis, also referred to as digital tomosynthesis, is an imaging modality similar to, but distinct from CT which uses a more limited angle in image acquisition. Rather than a 360-degree acquisition of a structure, tomosynthesis, via an x-ray tube 'arcing' over a stationary detector, is capturing 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

  • Asymmetric density - problem-solving with tomosynthesis
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