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Proceedings Paper

Effects of increased compression with an ultrasound transducer on the conspicuity of breast lesions in a phantom
Author(s): Katy Szczepura; Tahreem Faqir; David Manning
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Paper Abstract

Ultrasound imaging of the breast is highly operator dependent. The amount of pressure applied with the transducer has a direct impact on the lesion visibility in breast ultrasound. The conspicuity index is a quantitative measure of lesion visibility, taking into account more parameters than standard measures that impact on lesion detection. This study assessed the conspicuity of lesions within a breast phantom using increased transducer compression in breast ultrasound.


A phantom was constructed of gelatine to represent adipose tissue, steel wool for glandular/blood vessels and silicone spheres to represent lesions, this meant that the lesions were also compressible, but less than the surrounding tissue. The phantom was imaged under increasing transducer compression. The conspicuity index was measured using the Conspicuity Index Software. The distance between the transducer surface and lesion surface was measured as an indication of increased compression.


When moderate compression (17mm) was applied, the conspicuity index increased resulting in better visualisation of the silicone lesions. However, with increased compression the conspicuity index decreased.

New work to be presented

The conspicuity index has never been demonstrated in ultrasound imaging before. This is preliminary phantom work to demonstrate the impact of increased transducer compression on quantitative lesion visibility assessment.


The compression applied should be considered for optimum visualisation, as excessive pressure decreases conspicuity. However, further work needs to be conducted in order to consider other factors, such as density of the breast and lesion location, for a better understanding of the effect of compression on the visualisation of the lesion. A human study is planned.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 April 2017
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 10136, Medical Imaging 2017: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 101360T (24 April 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2254263
Show Author Affiliations
Katy Szczepura, Univ. of Salford (United Kingdom)
Tahreem Faqir, Univ. of Salford (United Kingdom)
David Manning, Univ. of Salford (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10136:
Medical Imaging 2017: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment
Matthew A. Kupinski; Robert M. Nishikawa, Editor(s)

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