Technical approaches to the optimisation of CT

Phys Med. 2008 Jun;24(2):71-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmp.2008.01.012. Epub 2008 Mar 10.


This paper reviews current technical approaches to the optimisation of CT practice, i.e. approaches to reduce patient dose to the necessary minimum. The most important step towards this goal appears to be the technology of tube current modulation (TCM), which came into practice in the early 2000s and has become the standard approach recently. Anatomy- or attenuation-based TCM allows for a dose reduction between 10 and 60% as compared to scans with constant tube current. Automatic exposure control (AEC) approaches are the next step; based on TCM technology, AEC adapts the tube current both with the rotation angle alpha (alpha-modulation) and along the z-axis (z-modulation) to achieve a pre-selected image quality level at minimal dose. To pre-select the image quality level, i.e. primarily the pixel noise level, tools for simulation are important to investigate the necessary noise levels pro- and retrospectively for given cases and diagnostic tasks. Respective "dose tutor" approaches have become available recently and are presented. The most recent technical innovation which may lead to substantial dose reduction is the investigation of optimal spectra taking the type of contrast and 3D dose distributions into account. A high potential has been shown especially for pediatric CT and for thoracic CT where dose reduction of a factor of 2 and more is possible when using reduced tube voltages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biophysics / methods
  • Biophysics / trends
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / trends