Dual energy subtraction and temporal subtraction chest radiography

J Thorac Imaging. 2008 May;23(2):77-85. doi: 10.1097/RTI.0b013e318173dd38.


Digital radiography and display systems have revolutionized radiologic practice in recent years and have enabled clinical application of advanced image processing techniques. These include dual energy subtraction and temporal subtraction, both of which can improve diagnostic accuracy for abnormal findings in chest radiographs, especially for subtle lesions such as early lung cancer or focal pneumonia. Dual energy radiography exploits the differential attenuation of low-energy x-ray photons by calcium to produce separate images on the bones and soft tissues, which provides improved detection and characterization of both calcified and noncalcified lung lesions. Dual energy subtraction radiography is currently available from 2 of the major vendors and is in clinical use at many institutions in the United States. Temporal subtraction is a complementary technique that enhances interval change, by using a previous radiograph as a subtraction mask, so that unchanged normal anatomy is suppressed, whereas new abnormalities are enhanced. Though it is not yet a product in the United States, temporal subtraction is available for clinical use in Japan. Temporal subtraction can be combined with energy subtraction to reduce misregistration artifacts, and also has potential to improve computer-aided detection of nodules and other types of lung disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Radiography, Dual-Energy Scanned Projection / methods*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Subtraction Technique
  • Thoracic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Time Factors