Background: Three-dimensional (3D) camera systems are increasingly used for computerized volume calculations. In this study we investigate whether the Vectra XT 3D imaging system is a reliable tool for determination of breast volume in clinical practice. It is compared with the current gold standard in literature, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and current clinical practice (plastic surgeon's clinical estimation).
Methods: Breast volumes of 29 patients (53 breasts) were evaluated. 3D images were acquired by Vectra XT 3D imaging system. Pre-existing breast MRI images were collected. Both imaging techniques were used for volume analyses, calculated by two independent investigators. Breast volume estimations were done by plastic surgeons during outpatient consultations. All volume measurements were compared using paired samples t-test, intra-class correlation coefficient, Pearson's correlation, and Bland-Altman analysis.
Results: Two 3D breast volume measurements showed an excellent reliability (intra-class correlation coefficient: 0.991), which was comparable to the reliability of MRI measurements (intra-class correlation coefficient: 0.990). Mean (SD) breast volume measured with 3D breast volume was 454 cm(3) (157) and with MRI was 687 cm(3) (312). These volumes were significantly different, but a linear association could be found: y(MRI) = 1.58 x (3D) - 40. Three-dimensional breast volume was not significantly different from volume estimation made by plastic surgeons (472 cm(3) (69), P = 0.323).
Conclusions: The 3D imaging system measures lower volumes for breasts than MRI. However, 3D measurements show a linear association with MRI and have excellent reliability, making them an objective and reproducible measuring method suitable for clinical practice.