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An international team of researchers compared the diagnostic image quality of Planmeca's low-dose settings with standard imaging protocols. (Photograph: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock)

No loss of diagnostic imaging quality with low-radiation settings

By Dental Tribune International
May 05, 2015

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., USA/HELSINKI, Finland: While the individual risk of oral and maxillofacial imaging is small, radiation dose is a significant public health issue. Therefore, strategies to keep exposures as low as possible, such as the Planmeca Ultra Low Dose protocol, are desirable. Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Helsinki have compared the diagnostic image quality of the company’s pioneering low-dose settings with standard imaging protocols.

The study evaluated doses resulting from various combinations of field size and exposure parameters using a ProMax 3D CBCT unit. The images were taken at 24 sites in a 10-year-old child phantom and an adult phantom, with multiple exposures for each imaging site. In order to compare the images taken with the Planmeca Ultra Low Dose (ULD) protocol against standard exposures, three dosimeter readings were taken and the values were adjusted for sensitivity to a kV or X-ray source. In addition, the study aimed to acquire quantitative data on the contrast–noise ratio and modulation transfer function in order to examine the relation of image quality and examination dose.

The researchers found that using the ULD protocol resulted in an average 77 per cent reduction in radiation exposure compared with standard imaging protocols. Furthermore, based on the data, no statistical reduction in image quality between ULD and standard protocols was found, suggesting that patient doses can be reduced without the loss of diagnostic quality.

According to Planmeca, its ProMax units are designed to reduce patient radiation and are intended to help dentists comply with the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle of radiation exposure and the Image Gently campaign, which emphasises the importance of imaging at a lower dose for paediatric patients.

“In my opinion, the ULD images acquired by the Planmeca ProMax in this study meet the standards of the ALARA radiation safety principle as well as the Image Gently campaign,” said Dr Jack Fisher, a professor at the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, and Dentistry at Vanderbilt University in the US. “Why would anyone take a 2-D image with this amount of exposure when they can get a 3-D image with excellent diagnostic quality at an ultra-low dose of radiation?”

The study, titled “Dosimetry of orthodontic diagnostic FOVs using ultra low dose CBCT protocol”, was partly supported by a grant from the US National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and will be published at a later date.

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