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Microwave Breast Imaging using a Dry Setup

Felício, J. M. ; Bioucas-Dias, J. ; Costa, J.R. ; Fernandes, C. A.

IEEE Transactions on Computational Imaging Vol. 6, Nº 1, pp. 167 - 180, January, 2020.

ISSN (print): 2333-9403
ISSN (online):

Scimago Journal Ranking: 1,44 (in 2020)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/TCI.2019.2931079

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The paper demonstrates for the first time, both numerically and experimentally, the feasibility of radar-based microwave imaging of anthropomorphic heterogeneously dense breasts in prone position, requiring no immersion liquid. The dry, contactless approach greatly simplifies the setup, favors patient comfort, and further avoids lengthy sanitation procedures after each exam. We use a radar-type technique with the antennas distributed in cylindrical configuration around the breast phantom. The reflectivity map is reconstructed using a wave-migration algorithm in the frequency domain. The paper presents new developed strategies to cope with the challenges of a dry setup, namely increased skin artifact due to the concomitant absence of matching liquid and non-uniform breast shape. We propose an iterative and adaptive algorithm based on singular value decomposition that effectively removes the skin backscattering under the above conditions. It is compatible with automatic processing, and computationally fast. One of its inputs is the breast three-dimensional surface information, and its distance to the antennas, all obtained automatically from a proposed low-cost procedure based on a webcam. The imaging method is reasonably resilient to the presence of fibroglandular tissues, and to uncertainties of tissue permittivity. Another tackled challenge is the miniaturization of the antenna in air, which is achieved with an optimized balanced antipodal Vivaldi of the same size as counterparts used in dense immersion liquids. Finally, all the building blocks are combined to demonstrate experimentally the overall dry system performance, with very good detection of the tumor at three different positions in the breast, even in low
contrast scenarios.