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Low-Dose Radiography of Scoliosis in Children: A Comparison of Methods

Kalmar, John A., MD; Jones, Jerome P., PhD; Merritt, Christopher R. B., MD

Diagnostic Imaging: PDF Only

Study Design. Records of 1,582 conventional and computed radiographic examinations performed to evaluate scoliosis were reviewed and compared to determine differences in total radiation burden.

Objective. This study evaluated the impact of computed radiographic imaging (CRI) on radiation exposure in children undergoing serial spinal radiographs for scoliosis assessment and compared exposure from CRI with that of low-dose film-screen combinations.

Summary of Background Data. CRI permits diagnostic radiographic studies to be performed with a dose reduction of 80%-95% compared to conventional film-screen systems. High speed film-screen systems also permit a significantly lower exposure. Each approach has unique advantages and disadvantages.

Methods. Over 6 years, we performed 1,582 spinal examinations in children 4–14 years old using reduced dosage techniques with computed radidography. The images were obtained with Fuji FCR 101 and Philips PCR/SP systems. The adequacy of diagnostic image quality in the serial evaluation of socliosis at different exposure levels was evaluated and compared with regular and film-screen systems with speeds ranging from 250 to 1,200.

Results. Diagnostic-quality images for evaluating scoliosis can be obtained with doses of 5% or less than required with conventianal film-screen systems. Computed radiography provides image quality and dose reduction comparable to a 1,200-speed film -screen system.

Conclusion. CRI gives satisfactory images at 5% reduction of the standard film-screen dose. Based on comparison with a 1,200 speed film-screen system, CRI provides equal or better image quality at a similar rediation dose. The cost of CRI is higher than for film-screen radiography, but wide latitude and the ability to tailor dose with requirements for image quality are significant advantages for CRI.

Department of Radiology, Ochsner Clinic and Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.