New Software Reduces Radiation from Virtual Colonoscopy

Computer software designed to sharpen blurry images makes lower radiation doses possible for abdominal CT scanning, including CT virtual colonoscopy.

The new technology may lessen fears of excessive radiation exposure during CT colonography screening and make it safer and more acceptable to patients.

In a study of CT colonography, using the software let radiologists cut the amount of radiation in half and still get images that were as good as those seen at full strength.

The software is known as adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction or ASIR.

Three radiologists, who didn’t know what technique or amount of radiation was used, compared images from a “phantom” or dummy patients and 18 actual patients at both full and 40 percent radiation dose with ASIR .  They couldn’t find significant differences

Using ASIR reduced radiation “noise” and made images clearer.

In addition to CT colonography, ASIR techniques may help patients with Crohn’s disease who need many abdominal CT scans over a lifetime and have increased risk from radiation.

Kristina Flicek and her team at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona concluded,

The results of this pilot study show that the radiation dose during CTC can be reduced 50% below currently accepted low-dose techniques without significantly affecting image quality when ASIR is used. Further evaluation in a larger patient group is warranted.

SOURCE: Flicek et al., American Journal of Roentgenology, Volume 195, Issue 1, pages 126-131, July 2010.

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