Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Designing a breast support device for phase contrast tomographic imaging: getting ready for a clinical trial

Dimmock, Matthew; McKinley, Jonathan; Massey, Adrian; Hausermann, Daniel; Tam, Nathan; Stewart, Elizabeth; Cowling, Cynthia; Sim, Jenny; Brennan, Patrick C; Gureyev, Timur; Taba, Seyedamir Tavakoli; Schultz-Ferguson, Cindy; Jimenez, Yobelli A; Lewis, Sarah Jayne


Jonathan McKinley

Adrian Massey

Daniel Hausermann

Nathan Tam

Elizabeth Stewart

Cynthia Cowling

Jenny Sim

Patrick C Brennan

Timur Gureyev

Seyedamir Tavakoli Taba

Cindy Schultz-Ferguson

Yobelli A Jimenez

Sarah Jayne Lewis


To design a device that can support the breast during phase-contrast tomography, and characterise its fit parameterisation and comfort rating.

27 participants were recruited to trial a system for breast support during simulated phase contrast imaging, including being positioned on a prone imaging table while wearing the device. Participants underwent a photogrammetry analysis to establish the geometric parameterisations. All participants trialled a single-cup design while 14 participants also trialled a double-cup with suction holder and all completed a series of questionnaires to understand subjective comfort.

Photogrammetry revealed significant positive correlations between bra cup volume and measured prone volume (p < 0.001), and between “best fit” single-cup holder volume and measured prone volume (p < 0.005). Both holders were suitable devices in terms of subjective comfort and immobilisation while stationary. However, some re-engineering to allow for quick, easy fitting in future trials where rotation through the radiation beam will occur is necessary. Light suction was well-tolerated when required.

All participants indicated the table and breast support devices were comfortable, and they would continue in the trial.

Advances in knowledge
Phase contrast tomography is an emerging breast imaging modality and clinical trials are commencing internationally. This paper describes the biomedical engineering designs, in parallel with optimal imaging, that are necessary to measure breast volume so that adequate breast support can be achieved. Breast support devices have implications for comfort, motion correction and maximising breast tissue visualisation.


Dimmock, M., McKinley, J., Massey, A., Hausermann, D., Tam, N., Stewart, E., …Lewis, S. J. (2022). Designing a breast support device for phase contrast tomographic imaging: getting ready for a clinical trial. British Journal of Radiology, 95(1138), Article ARTN 20211243.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 22, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 17, 2022
Publication Date Oct 1, 2022
Deposit Date Jun 2, 2023
Print ISSN 0007-1285
Electronic ISSN 1748-880X
Publisher British Institute of Radiology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 95
Issue 1138
Article Number ARTN 20211243
Keywords Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging; General Medicine