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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Radiation-Emitting Products

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Trends in Mammography Dose and Image Quality 1974-2009

A graph that shows trends in mammography dose and image quality. Radiation doses in mammography have consistently decreased with time. Image quality data is presented from the mid-1980’s to present, and shows consistent improvement with time.

This graphic displays average values for radiation dose to the breast (mean glandular dose) and estimates of image quality in mammography from a phantom, which simulates breast tissue, for the period from the early 1970's to 2009. Radiation doses in mammography have consistently decreased with time. Image quality data is presented from the mid-1980's to present, and shows consistent improvement with time.

For further discussion on trends in dose and image quality in mammography refer to the article posted on the FDA's website.

Average values for mean glandular dose are either reported by, or derived from data reported by the following sources:

1974

Bicehouse HJ. Survey of Mammographic Exposure Levels and Techniques Used in Eastern Pennsylvania. 7th Annual National Conference on Radiation Control, 1975. DHEW Publication (FDA) 76-8026.

1976

Butler PF, Jensen JE. Breast Exposure: Nationwide Trends; A Mammographic Quality Assurance Program- Results to Date. Radiologic Technology 50(3), 1978; pp 251-257.

1980

Breast Exposure: Nationwide Trends. In: Internal project progress report. Rockville MD: Bureau of Radiological Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, 1981.

1985, 1988, 1992

Conway BJ, Suleiman OH, Rueter FG, Antonsen RG, Slayton RJ. National Survey of Mammographic Facilities in 1985, 1988, and 1992. Radiology 1994; 191: 323-330.

1995 to present

Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) inspection measurement or dose measurements from the medical physicists' reports collected at the time of facility inspections

Image Quality scores are reported from the following sources:

NOTE: All image quality scores are reported without artifact subtraction.

1985

RMI 152 phantom with 'C' insert; 1985 Nationwide Evaluation of X-ray Trends (NEXT) survey data.

1988

RMI 156 phantom with 'C' insert; 1988 NEXT survey data.

1992

RMI 156 phantom with 'D' insert; 1992 NEXT survey data.

1995 to present

Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) inspection findings