Strengths and Weaknesses of Synthetic Mammography in Screening

Synthetic mammography principles are reviewed and the role of synthetic mammography in screening is discussed.

Course ID: Q00572 Category:


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This course has been approved for 1.5 Category A credits.
No discipline-specific Targeted CE credit is currently offered by this course.


  1. Introduction
  2. SM Acquisition
  3. Role of SM in Screening
    1. Reduced Radiation Dose
    2. Shorter Acquisition Time
  4. SM and Cancer Detection
  5. SM versus FFDM
  6. SM/DBT versus FFDM/DBT
  7. SM and Recall Rate
  8. Case Reviews of SMís Strengths, Weaknesses, and Artifacts
  9. SMís Strengths
  10. SMís Weaknesses
    1. SM Artifacts
      1. Subcutaneous Tissue Blurring
      2. Loss of Skin Resolution
      3. Decreased Axillary Contrast Resolution
      4. Pseudocalcifications
      5. Foreign-Body Artifacts
      6. Difficulty in Assessing for Motion Artifact
  11. Other Considerations
  12. Future Directions
  13. Conclusion


Upon completion of this course, students will:

  1. state the year when the FDA approved DBT
  2. list the limitations of FFDM/DBT, when compared to those of FFDM alone
  3. state the year SM was approved by the FDA to be used in combination with DBT data
  4. describe the SM process
  5. describe the purpose of manufacturer-specific algorithms
  6. state when the MQSA was enacted
  7. describe the federal radiation dose limits enforced by the MQSA
  8. contrast and compare multiple studies in regard to SM
  9. name the organizations that have campaigns focused on raising awareness of the need to lower radiation dose of medically necessary studies
  10. state the acquisition time ranges for DBT
  11. list the benefits of shorter acquisition times
  12. recall the prospective study that found SM had significantly better conspicuity than FFDM for calcifications and architectural distortions
  13. recall the study that did not have a true screening population
  14. list the strengths associated with SM
  15. list artifacts experienced by the authors’ early clinical implementation of SM
  16. describe the curvature of the compressed breast related to the compression plate to the Bucky grid
  17. describe burned-skin artifact
  18. describe the areas in the breast where decreased SM contrast resolution may occur
  19. describe aspects of breast composition that may cause structural noise in SM
  20. compare how foreign-bodies or metal artifacts appear on images from various modalities
  21. recall how metal artifacts appear on breast images
  22. list commercially available items that can help minimize artifacts associates with high-attenuation objects
  23. describe areas in the breast where special attention must be placed in order to detect motion
  24. recall the potential for SM to reduce radiation exposure
  25. list factors that SM can help make more conspicuous