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Radiographics. 2014 Jan-Feb;34(1):4-17. doi: 10.1148/rg.341135038.

Emerging techniques for dose optimization in abdominal CT.

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From the Department of Radiology, University of Michigan Hospitals, 1500 E Medical Center Dr, UH B1 D 502 E, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.


Recent advances in computed tomographic (CT) scanning technique such as automated tube current modulation (ATCM), optimized x-ray tube voltage, and better use of iterative image reconstruction have allowed maintenance of good CT image quality with reduced radiation dose. ATCM varies the tube current during scanning to account for differences in patient attenuation, ensuring a more homogeneous image quality, although selection of the appropriate image quality parameter is essential for achieving optimal dose reduction. Reducing the x-ray tube voltage is best suited for evaluating iodinated structures, since the effective energy of the x-ray beam will be closer to the k-edge of iodine, resulting in a higher attenuation for the iodine. The optimal kilovoltage for a CT study should be chosen on the basis of imaging task and patient habitus. The aim of iterative image reconstruction is to identify factors that contribute to noise on CT images with use of statistical models of noise (statistical iterative reconstruction) and selective removal of noise to improve image quality. The degree of noise suppression achieved with statistical iterative reconstruction can be customized to minimize the effect of altered image quality on CT images. Unlike with statistical iterative reconstruction, model-based iterative reconstruction algorithms model both the statistical noise and the physical acquisition process, allowing CT to be performed with further reduction in radiation dose without an increase in image noise or loss of spatial resolution. Understanding these recently developed scanning techniques is essential for optimization of imaging protocols designed to achieve the desired image quality with a reduced dose.

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