Scatter radiation dose from digital screening mammography measured in a representative patient population

Alison L. Chetlen, Karen L. Brown, Steven H. King, Claudia J. Kasales, Susann E. Schetter, Julie A. Mack, Junjia Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to quantify the amount of scatter radiation received at the skin surface overlying the thyroid gland, salivary gland, lens of the eye, sternum, and uterus during a routine screening digital mammographic examination measured in a representative patient population. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. The subjects were 207 women without symptoms with varied body mass indexes who underwent annual screening mammography while wearing six optically stimulated luminescence dosimeters placed at the bridge of the nose, right submandibular gland, right and left thyroid lobes, mid sternum, and 2 cm caudal to the umbilicus to assess scatter radiation dose to the skin. RESULTS. The average scatter radiation doses at the skin surface during digital screening mammography in the representative population of women were as follows: overlying the right lobe of the thyroid, 0.24 mGy; left lobe of the thyroid, 0.25 mGy; salivary gland, 0.2 mGy; bridge of the nose, 0.025 mGy; sternum, 0.87 mGy; and umbilicus, 0.011 mGy. The scatter radiation doses at the umbilicus and the bridge of the nose were too low to measure with statistical confidence. Scatter radiation dose increased with increasing body mass index and increasing breast compression thickness. CONCLUSION. Scatter radiation dose at the skin overlying organs of interest is a small fraction of the entrance skin dose to the breast. The low levels of scatter radiation measured do not support delaying clinically indicated mammography during early pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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