Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

John J. Heine, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maria Kallergi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marla Hersh, M.D.

Committee Member

William E. Lee III, Ph.D.


mammography, filtering, signal-dependent noise, wavelet-expansion, Fourier transform


Early detection, diagnosis, and suitable treatment are known to significantly improve the chance of survival for breast cancer (BC) patients. To date, the most cost effective method for screening and early detection is screen-film mammography, which is also the only tool that has demonstrated its ability to reduce BC mortality. Full-field digital mammography (FFDM) is an extension of screen-film mammography that eliminates the need for film-processing because the images are detected electronically from their inception. Tomosynthesis is an emerging technology in digital mammography built on the FFDM framework, which offers an alternative to conventional two-dimensional mammography. Tomosynthesis produces three-dimensional (volumetric) images of the breast that may be superior to planar imaging due to improved visualization.

In this work preliminary tomosynthesis data derived from cadaver breasts are analyzed, which includes volume data acquired from various reconstruction techniques as well as the planar projection data. The noise and power spectra characteristics analyses are the focus of this study.

Understanding the noise characteristics is significant in the study of radiological images and in the evaluation of the imaging system, so that its degrading effect on the image can be minimized, if possible and lead to better diagnosis and optimal computer aided diagnosis schemes. Likewise, the power spectra behavior of the data are analyzed, so that statistical methods developed for digitized film images or FFDM images may be applied directly or modified accordingly for tomosynthesis applications.

The work shows that, in general, the power spectra for three of the reconstruction techniques are very similar to the spectra of planar FFDM data as well as digitized film; projection data analysis follows the same trend. To a good approximation the Fourier power spectra obey an inverse power law, which indicates a degree of self-similarity. The noise analysis indicates that the noise and signal are dependent and the dependency is a function of the reconstruction technique. New approaches for the analysis of signal dependent noise were developed specifically for this work based on both the linear wavelet expansion and on nonlinear order statistics. These methods were tested on simulated data that closely follow the statistics of mammograms prior to the real-data applications. The noise analysis methods are general and have applications beyond mammography.