Using ultrasound tomography to identify the distributions of density throughout the breast

Mark Sak, Neb Duric, Peter Littrup, Mark E. Sherman, Gretchen L. Gierach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Women with high breast density are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. Breast density has usually been defined using mammography as the ratio of fibroglandular tissue to total breast area. Ultrasound tomography (UST) is an emerging modality that can also be used to measure breast density. UST creates tomographic sound speed images of the patient's breast which is useful as sound speed is directly proportional to tissue density. Furthermore, the volumetric and quantitative information contained in the sound speed images can be used to describe the distribution of breast density. The work presented here measures the UST sound speed density distributions of 165 women with negative screening mammography. Frequency distributions of the sound speed voxel information were examined for each patient. In a preliminary analysis, the UST sound speed distributions were averaged across patients and grouped by various patient and density-related factors (e.g., age, body mass index, menopausal status, average mammographic breast density). It was found that differences in the distribution of density could be easily visualized for different patient groupings. Furthermore, findings suggest that the shape of the distributions may be used to identify participants with varying amounts of dense and non-dense tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2016
Subtitle of host publicationUltrasonic Imaging and Tomography
EditorsBrecht Heyde, Brecht Heyde, Neb Duric
ISBN (Electronic)9781510600256
StatePublished - 2016
EventMedical Imaging 2016: Ultrasonic Imaging and Tomography - San Diego, United States
Duration: Feb 28 2016Feb 29 2016

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherMedical Imaging 2016: Ultrasonic Imaging and Tomography
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Breast density
  • Density distribution
  • Sound speed
  • Ultrasound tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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