Flat-detector computed tomography (FD-CT)

Eur Radiol. 2007 Nov;17(11):2767-79. doi: 10.1007/s00330-007-0651-9. Epub 2007 Jun 23.


Flat-panel detectors or, synonymously, flat detectors (FDs) have been developed for use in radiography and fluoroscopy with the defined goal to replace standard X-ray film, film-screen combinations and image intensifiers by an advanced sensor system. FD technology in comparison to X-ray film and image intensifiers offers higher dynamic range, dose reduction, fast digital readout and the possibility for dynamic acquisitions of image series, yet keeping to a compact design. It appeared logical to employ FD designs also for computed tomography (CT) imaging. Respective efforts date back a few years only, but FD-CT has meanwhile become widely accepted for interventional and intra-operative imaging using C-arm systems. FD-CT provides a very efficient way of combining two-dimensional (2D) radiographic or fluoroscopic and 3D CT imaging. In addition, FD technology made its way into a number of dedicated CT scanner developments, such as scanners for the maxillo-facial region or for micro-CT applications. This review focuses on technical and performance issues of FD technology and its full range of applications for CT imaging. A comparison with standard clinical CT is of primary interest. It reveals that FD-CT provides higher spatial resolution, but encompasses a number of disadvantages, such as lower dose efficiency, smaller field of view and lower temporal resolution. FD-CT is not aimed at challenging standard clinical CT as regards to the typical diagnostic examinations; but it has already proven unique for a number of dedicated CT applications, offering distinct practical advantages, above all the availability of immediate CT imaging in the interventional suite or the operating room.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiography / instrumentation*
  • Angiography / methods
  • Breast / pathology
  • Equipment Design
  • Fluoroscopy / instrumentation*
  • Fluoroscopy / methods
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Models, Statistical
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / instrumentation*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / trends
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skull / pathology
  • Technology, Radiologic / instrumentation
  • X-Ray Intensifying Screens*