Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the difference in absorbed organ dose and image quality for MDCT neck protocols using automatic tube current modulation alone compared with organ-based dose modulation and in-plane thyroid bismuth shielding.
Materials and methods: An anthropomorphic female phantom with metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) detectors was scanned on a 64-MDCT scanner. The protocols included a reference neck CT protocol using automatic tube current modulation and three modified protocols: organ-based dose modulation, automatic tube current modulation with thyroid shield, and organ-based dose modulation with thyroid shield. Image noise was evaluated quantitatively with the SD of the attenuation value, and subjectively by two neuroradiologists.
Results: Organ-based dose modulation, automatic tube current modulation with thyroid shield, and organ-based dose modulation with thyroid shield protocols reduced the thyroid dose by 28%, 33%, and 45%, respectively, compared with the use of automatic tube current modulation alone (p ≤ 0.005). Organ-based dose modulation also reduced the radiation dose to the ocular lens (33-47%) compared with the use of automatic tube current modulation (p ≤ 0.04). There was no significant difference in measured noise and subjective image quality between the protocols.
Conclusion: Both organ-based dose modulation and thyroid shields significantly reduce the thyroid organ dose without degradation of subjective image quality compared with automatic tube current modulation. Organ-based dose modulation has the additional benefit of dose reduction to the ocular lens.