Multi-detector row CT colonography: effect of collimation, pitch, and orientation on polyp detection in a human colectomy specimen

Radiology. 2003 Oct;229(1):109-18. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2291020561.


Purpose: To investigate the effects of orientation, collimation, pitch, and tube current setting on polyp detection at multi-detector row computed tomographic (CT) colonography and to determine the optimal combination of scanning parameters for screening.

Materials and methods: A colectomy specimen containing 117 polyps of different sizes was insufflated and imaged with a multi-detector row CT scanner at various collimation (1.25 and 2.5 mm), pitch (3 and 6), and tube current (50, 100, and 150 mA) settings. Two-dimensional multiplanar reformatted images and three-dimensional endoluminal surface renderings from the 12 resultant data sets were examined by one observer for the presence and conspicuity of polyps. The results were analyzed with Poisson regression and logistic regression to determine the effects of scanning parameters and of specimen orientation on polyp detection.

Results: The percentage of polyps that were detected significantly increased when collimation (P =.008) and table feed (P =.03) were decreased. Increased tube current resulted in improved detection only of polyps with a diameter of less than 5 mm. Polyps of less than 5 mm were optimally depicted with a collimation of 1.25 mm, a pitch of 3, and a tube current setting of 150 mA; polyps with a diameter greater than 5 mm were adequately depicted with 1.25-mm collimation and with either pitch setting and any of the three tube current settings. Small polyps in the transverse segment (positioned at a 90 degrees angle to the z axis of scanning) were significantly less visible than those in parallel or oblique orientations (P <.001). The effective radiation dose, calculated with a Monte Carlo simulation, was 1.4-10.0 mSv.

Conclusion: Detection of small polyps (<5 mm) with multi-detector row CT is highly dependent on collimation, pitch, and, to a lesser extent, tube current. Collimation of 1.25 mm, combined with pitch of 6 and tube current of 50 mA, provides for reliable detection of polyps 5 mm or larger while limiting the effective radiation dose. Polyps smaller than 5 mm, however, may be poorly depicted with use of these settings in the transverse colon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colon / diagnostic imaging*
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnostic imaging*
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Logistic Models
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Regression Analysis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*