The effect of high-pass filters in the visibility of microcalcifications

Yau Ming Lai, N.A. Lock

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Mammographic microcalcifications are significant in diagnosis, as they may indicate early stage malignancy. Thus mammographic screen-film combinations incorporate high contrast and spatial resolution in order to detect fine details. However, screen-film combinations, coupling different functions, can pose limitations. Images acquired in digital format provide a new way of using images, as image enhancement can be achieved by manipulation in the spatial domain without additional radiation exposure.||Gold disks of differing diameters and thickness in the Nijmgan phantom were used to simulate microcalcifications. Microcalcification, as an image feature, is of high frequency components in the spatial domain. High-pass filters enable enhancement of microcalcification. Three high-pass filters were investigated to compare their efficacy. A phantom consisting of polystyrene granules embedded in a sodium iodide solution was used to simulate the breast tissue pattern. A composite radiographic image was produced by combining the phantom with a Nijmegen phantom, which was then digitised and processed. This was assessed by observer performance in locating the microcalcifications. Also, line profile image analysis was performed on digital mammograms with microcalcifications. The filter with a central weight of 9 and neighbouring pixels of -1 exhibited the greatest effectiveness in the enhancement of the microcalcification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalThe radiographer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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