Diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) for mammography have yet to be created in Japan. A national questionnaire investigation into radiographic conditions in Japan was carried out for the purpose of creating DRLs. Items investigated included the following: tube voltage; tube current; current-time product; source-image distance; craniocaudal view; automatic exposure control (AEC) settings; name of mammography unit; image receptor system (computed radiography (CR), flat panel detector (FPD), or film/screen (F/S)); and supported or unsupported monitor diagnosis (including monitor resolution). Estimation of the mean glandular dose (MGD) for mammography was performed and compared with previous investigations. The MGD was 1.58(0.48) mGy, which did not significantly differ from a 2007 investigation. In relation to image receptors, although no difference in average MGD values was observed between CR and FPD systems, F/S systems had a significantly decreased value compared to both CR and FPDs. Concerning digital systems (FPDs), the MGD value of the direct conversion system was significantly higher than the indirect conversion system. No significant difference in MGD value was evident concerning type of monitor diagnosis for either the CR or the FPD digital systems; however, hard copies were used more often in CR. No significant difference in the MGD value was found in relation to monitor resolution. This report suggests ways to lower the doses patients undergoing mammography receive in Japan, and serves as reference data for 4.2 cm compressed breast tissue of 50% composition DRLs. Furthermore, our findings suggest that further optimisation of FPD settings can promote a reduction in the MGD value.
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