## Dose reduction potential in cone-beam CT imaging of upper extremity joints with a twin robotic x-ray system

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-270429
• Cone-beam computed tomography is a powerful tool for 3D imaging of the appendicular skeleton, facilitating detailed visualization of bone microarchitecture. This study evaluated various combinations of acquisition and reconstruction parameters for the cone-beam CT mode of a twin robotic x-ray system in cadaveric wrist and elbow scans, aiming to define the best possible trade-off between image quality and radiation dose. Images were acquired with different combinations of tube voltage and tube current–time product, resulting in five scanCone-beam computed tomography is a powerful tool for 3D imaging of the appendicular skeleton, facilitating detailed visualization of bone microarchitecture. This study evaluated various combinations of acquisition and reconstruction parameters for the cone-beam CT mode of a twin robotic x-ray system in cadaveric wrist and elbow scans, aiming to define the best possible trade-off between image quality and radiation dose. Images were acquired with different combinations of tube voltage and tube current–time product, resulting in five scan protocols with varying volume CT dose indices: full-dose (FD; 17.4 mGy), low-dose (LD; 4.5 mGy), ultra-low-dose (ULD; 1.15 mGy), modulated low-dose (mLD; 0.6 mGy) and modulated ultra-low-dose (mULD; 0.29 mGy). Each set of projection data was reconstructed with three convolution kernels (very sharp [Ur77], sharp [Br69], intermediate [Br62]). Five radiologists subjectively assessed the image quality of cortical bone, cancellous bone and soft tissue using seven-point scales. Irrespective of the reconstruction kernel, overall image quality of every FD, LD and ULD scan was deemed suitable for diagnostic use in contrast to mLD (very sharp/sharp/intermediate: 60/55/70%) and mULD (0/3/5%). Superior depiction of cortical and cancellous bone was achieved in FD$$_{Ur77}$$ and LD$$_{Ur77}$$ examinations (p < 0.001) with LD$$_{Ur77}$$ scans also providing favorable bone visualization compared to FD$$_{Br69}$$ and FD$$_{Br62}$$ (p < 0.001). Fleiss’ kappa was 0.618 (0.594–0.641; p < 0.001), indicating substantial interrater reliability. In this study, we demonstrate that considerable dose reduction can be realized while maintaining diagnostic image quality in upper extremity joint scans with the cone-beam CT mode of a twin robotic x-ray system. Application of sharper convolution kernels for image reconstruction facilitates superior display of bone microarchitecture.