Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of iterative model reconstruction (IMR) in brain CT especially with thin-slice images.
Methods: This prospective study received institutional review board approval, and prior informed consent to participate was obtained from all patients. We enrolled 34 patients who underwent brain CT and reconstructed axial images with filtered back projection (FBP), hybrid iterative reconstruction (HIR) and IMR with 1 and 5 mm slice thicknesses. The CT number, image noise, contrast, and contrast noise ratio (CNR) between the thalamus and internal capsule, and the rate of increase of image noise in 1 and 5 mm thickness images between the reconstruction methods, were assessed. Two independent radiologists assessed image contrast, image noise, image sharpness, and overall image quality on a 4-point scale.
Results: The CNRs in 1 and 5 mm slice thickness were significantly higher with IMR (1.2 ± 0.6 and 2.2 ± 0.8, respectively) than with FBP (0.4 ± 0.3 and 1.0 ± 0.4, respectively) and HIR (0.5 ± 0.3 and 1.2 ± 0.4, respectively) (p < 0.01). The mean rate of increasing noise from 5 to 1 mm thickness images was significantly lower with IMR (1.7 ± 0.3) than with FBP (2.3 ± 0.3) and HIR (2.3 ± 0.4) (p < 0.01). There were no significant differences in qualitative analysis of unfamiliar image texture between the reconstruction techniques.
Conclusion: IMR offers significant noise reduction and higher contrast and CNR in brain CT, especially for thin-slice images, when compared to FBP and HIR.
Keywords: Brain; CT; Iterative reconstruction; Radiation dose.