Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Medical Physics

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Osama Mawlawi, PhD

Committee Member

Valen E Johnson, PhD

Committee Member

Eric Rohren, MD, PhD

Committee Member

Yiping Shao, PhD

Committee Member

Tinsu Pan, PhD

Committee Member

Richard E Wendt III, PhD


Objective: The PEM Flex Solo II (Naviscan, Inc., San Diego, CA) is currently the only commercially-available positron emission mammography (PEM) scanner. This scanner does not apply corrections for count rate effects, attenuation or scatter during image reconstruction, potentially affecting the quantitative accuracy of images. This work measures the overall quantitative accuracy of the PEM Flex system, and determines the contributions of error due to count rate effects, attenuation and scatter.

Materials and Methods: Gelatin phantoms were designed to simulate breasts of different sizes (4 – 12 cm thick) with varying uniform background activity concentration (0.007 – 0.5 μCi/cc), cysts and lesions (2:1, 5:1, 10:1 lesion-to-background ratios). The overall error was calculated from ROI measurements in the phantoms with a clinically relevant background activity concentration (0.065 μCi/cc). The error due to count rate effects was determined by comparing the overall error at multiple background activity concentrations to the error at 0.007 μCi/cc. A point source and cold gelatin phantoms were used to assess the errors due to attenuation and scatter. The maximum pixel values in gelatin and in air were compared to determine the effect of attenuation. Scatter was evaluated by comparing the sum of all pixel values in gelatin and in air.

Results: The overall error in the background was found to be negative in phantoms of all thicknesses, with the exception of the 4-cm thick phantoms (0%±7%), and it increased with thickness (-34%±6% for the 12-cm phantoms). All lesions exhibited large negative error (-22% for the 2:1 lesions in the 4-cm phantom) which increased with thickness and with lesion-to-background ratio (-85% for the 10:1 lesions in the 12-cm phantoms). The error due to count rate in phantoms with 0.065 μCi/cc background was negative (-23%±6% for 4-cm thickness) and decreased with thickness (-7%±7% for 12 cm). Attenuation was a substantial source of negative error and increased with thickness (-51%±10% to -77% ±4% in 4 to 12 cm phantoms, respectively). Scatter contributed a relatively constant amount of positive error (+23%±11%) for all thicknesses.

Conclusion: Applying corrections for count rate, attenuation and scatter will be essential for the PEM Flex Solo II to be able to produce quantitatively accurate images.


Positron Emission Mammography; Breast Imaging; Quantitative Imaging; PEM Flex Solo; Naviscan



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.