Assessment of display performance for medical imaging systems: executive summary of AAPM TG18 report

Med Phys. 2005 Apr;32(4):1205-25. doi: 10.1118/1.1861159.


Digital imaging provides an effective means to electronically acquire, archive, distribute, and view medical images. Medical imaging display stations are an integral part of these operations. Therefore, it is vitally important to assure that electronic display devices do not compromise image quality and ultimately patient care. The AAPM Task Group 18 (TG18) recently published guidelines and acceptance criteria for acceptance testing and quality control of medical display devices. This paper is an executive summary of the TG18 report. TG18 guidelines include visual, quantitative, and advanced testing methodologies for primary and secondary class display devices. The characteristics, tested in conjunction with specially designed test patterns (i.e., TG18 patterns), include reflection, geometric distortion, luminance, the spatial and angular dependencies of luminance, resolution, noise, glare, chromaticity, and display artifacts. Geometric distortions are evaluated by linear measurements of the TG18-QC test pattern, which should render distortion coefficients less than 2%/5% for primary/secondary displays, respectively. Reflection measurements include specular and diffuse reflection coefficients from which the maximum allowable ambient lighting is determined such that contrast degradation due to display reflection remains below a 20% limit and the level of ambient luminance (Lamb) does not unduly compromise luminance ratio (LR) and contrast at low luminance levels. Luminance evaluation relies on visual assessment of low contrast features in the TG18-CT and TG18-MP test patterns, or quantitative measurements at 18 distinct luminance levels of the TG18-LN test patterns. The major acceptable criteria for primary/ secondary displays are maximum luminance of greater than 170/100 cd/m2, LR of greater than 250/100, and contrast conformance to that of the grayscale standard display function (GSDF) of better than 10%/20%, respectively. The angular response is tested to ascertain the viewing cone within which contrast conformance to the GSDF is better than 30%/60% and LR is greater than 175/70 for primary/secondary displays, or alternatively, within which the on-axis contrast thresholds of the TG18-CT test pattern remain discernible. The evaluation of luminance spatial uniformity at two distinct luminance levels across the display faceplate using TG18-UNL test patterns should yield nonuniformity coefficients smaller than 30%. The resolution evaluation includes the visual scoring of the CX test target in the TG18-QC or TG18-CX test patterns, which should yield scores greater than 4/6 for primary/secondary displays. Noise evaluation includes visual evaluation of the contrast threshold in the TG18-AFC test pattern, which should yield a minimum of 3/2 targets visible for primary/secondary displays. The guidelines also include methodologies for more quantitative resolution and noise measurements based on MTF and NPS analyses. The display glare test, based on the visibility of the low-contrast targets of the TG18-GV test pattern or the measurement of the glare ratio (GR), is expected to yield scores greater than 3/1 and GRs greater than 400/150 for primary/secondary displays. Chromaticity, measured across a display faceplate or between two display devices, is expected to render a u',v' color separation of less than 0.01 for primary displays. The report offers further descriptions of prior standardization efforts, current display technologies, testing prerequisites, streamlined procedures and timelines, and TG18 test patterns.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Graphics / standards
  • Computer Terminals / standards*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / standards*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Quality Control
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / instrumentation*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / standards
  • Radiology Information Systems / instrumentation*
  • Reference Standards
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Software
  • User-Computer Interface