This paper reports the diagnostic performance of observers in detecting abnormalities in computer generated mammogram-like images. A mathematical model of the human breast is defined in which breast tissues are simulated by spheres of different sizes and densities. Images ar'e generated by casting rays from a specified source, through the: model, and onto an image plane. Observer performance with two viewing modalities (stereo versus mono) is compared. In the stereo viewing mode, left and right images are presented to the observer (wearing liquid crystal shuttle glasses), such that the left eye sees the left image only and the right eye sees the right image only. In this way, the images can be fused by the observer to obtain a sense of depth. In the mono viewing mode, left and right images are presented side by side and the observer can see both images at the same time. Observer response data are evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis to characterize any difference in detectability of abnormalities (in either the density or arrangement of simulated tissue densities) using the two viewing modes. The results indicate the clear superiority of stereo viewing for detection of arrangement abnormalities. For detection of density abnormalities, the performance of the two viewing modes is similar. These preliminary results suggest that stereomanlmography may permit easier detection of certain tissue abnormalities, perhaps providing a route to earlier tumor detection in cases of breast cancer.


diagnostic radiology, digital mammography, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, stereo imaging;

Date of this Version

December 1993