Objective: Micro-computed tomography is used frequently in preclinical in vivo research. Limiting factors are radiation dose and long scan times. The purpose of the study was to compare a standard step-and-shoot to a continuous-rotation, high-speed scanning protocol.
Methods: Micro-computed tomography of a lead grid phantom and a rat femur was performed using a step-and-shoot and a continuous-rotation protocol. Detail discriminability and image quality were assessed by 3 radiologists. The signal-to-noise ratio and the modulation transfer function were calculated, and volumetric analyses of the femur were performed. The radiation dose of the scan protocols was measured using thermoluminescence dosimeters.
Results: The 40-second continuous-rotation protocol allowed a detail discriminability comparable to the step-and-shoot protocol at significantly lower radiation doses. No marked differences in volumetric or qualitative analyses were observed.
Conclusions: Continuous-rotation micro-computed tomography significantly reduces scanning time and radiation dose without relevantly reducing image quality compared with a normal step-and-shoot protocol.