Optimization of the simulation parameters for improving realism in anthropomorphic breast phantoms

Abdullah Al Zubaer Imran, Predrag R. Bakic, Andrew D.A. Maidment, David D. Pokrajac

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Virtual clinical trials (VCTs) were introduced as a preclinical alternative to clinical imaging trials, and for the evaluation of breast imaging systems. Realism in computer models of breast anatomy (software phantoms), critical for VCT performance, can be improved by optimizing simulation parameters based on the analysis of clinical images. We optimized the simulation to improve the realism of simulated tissue compartments, defined by the breast Cooper's ligaments. We utilized the anonymized, previously acquired CT images of a mastectomy specimen to manually segment 205 adipose compartments. We generated 1,440 anthropomorphic breast phantoms based on octree recursive partitioning. These phantoms included variations of simulation parameters - voxel size, number of compartments, percentage of dense tissue, and shape and orientation of the compartments. We compared distributions of the compartment volumes in segmented CT images and phantoms using Kolmogrov-Smirnov (KS) distance, Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence and a novel distance metric (based on weighted sum of distribution descriptors differences). We identified phantoms with the size distributions closest to CT images. For example, KS resulted in the phantom with 1000 compartments, ligament thickness of 0.4 mm and skin thickness of 12 mm. We applied multilevel analysis of variance (ANOVAN) to these distance measures to identify parameters that most significantly influence the simulated compartment size distribution. We have demonstrated an efficient method for the optimization of phantom parameters to achieve realistic distribution of adipose compartment size. The proposed methodology could be extended to other phantom parameters (e.g., ligaments and skin thicknesses), to further improve realism of the simulation and VCTs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2017
Subtitle of host publicationPhysics of Medical Imaging
EditorsTaly Gilat Schmidt, Joseph Y. Lo, Thomas G. Flohr
ISBN (Electronic)9781510607095
StatePublished - 2017
EventMedical Imaging 2017: Physics of Medical Imaging - Orlando, United States
Duration: Feb 13 2017Feb 16 2017

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2017: Physics of Medical Imaging
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 SPIE.


  • Adipose compartment
  • Analysis of variance
  • Anthropomorphic breast phantom
  • Breast imaging
  • Breast simulation parameters
  • Distribution distance
  • Mastectomy specimen
  • Virtual clinical trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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