X-ray absorption of breast cancers and surrounding healthy tissue can be very similar, a situation that sometimes leads to missed cancers or false-positive diagnoses. To increase the accuracy of mammography and breast tomosynthesis, we describe dynamic X-ray elastography using a novel pulsed X-ray source. This new imaging modality provides both absorption and mechanical properties of the imaged material. We use a small acoustic speaker to vibrate the sample while a synchronously pulsed cold cathode X-ray source images the mechanical deformation. Using these stroboscopic images, we derive two-dimensional stiffness maps of the sample in addition to the conventional X-ray image. In a breast phantom composed of ZrO2 powder embedded in gel, dynamic elastography derived stiffness maps were able to discriminate a hard inclusion from surrounding material with a contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of 4.5. The CNR on the corresponding absorption image was 1.1. This demonstrates the feasibility of dynamic X-ray elastography with a synchronously pulsed X-ray source.
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