Comparison of the effects of model-based iterative reconstruction and filtered back projection algorithms on software measurements in pulmonary subsolid nodules

Eur Radiol. 2017 Aug;27(8):3266-3274. doi: 10.1007/s00330-016-4716-5. Epub 2017 Jan 5.


Objectives: To evaluate the differences between filtered back projection (FBP) and model-based iterative reconstruction (MBIR) algorithms on semi-automatic measurements in subsolid nodules (SSNs).

Methods: Unenhanced CT scans of 73 SSNs obtained using the same protocol and reconstructed with both FBP and MBIR algorithms were evaluated by two radiologists. Diameter, mean attenuation, mass and volume of whole nodules and their solid components were measured. Intra- and interobserver variability and differences between FBP and MBIR were then evaluated using Bland-Altman method and Wilcoxon tests.

Results: Longest diameter, volume and mass of nodules and those of their solid components were significantly higher using MBIR (p < 0.05) with mean differences of 1.1% (limits of agreement, -6.4 to 8.5%), 3.2% (-20.9 to 27.3%) and 2.9% (-16.9 to 22.7%) and 3.2% (-20.5 to 27%), 6.3% (-51.9 to 64.6%), 6.6% (-50.1 to 63.3%), respectively. The limits of agreement between FBP and MBIR were within the range of intra- and interobserver variability for both algorithms with respect to the diameter, volume and mass of nodules and their solid components. There were no significant differences in intra- or interobserver variability between FBP and MBIR (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Semi-automatic measurements of SSNs significantly differed between FBP and MBIR; however, the differences were within the range of measurement variability.

Key points: • Intra- and interobserver reproducibility of measurements did not differ between FBP and MBIR. • Differences in SSNs' semi-automatic measurement induced by reconstruction algorithms were not clinically significant. • Semi-automatic measurement may be conducted regardless of reconstruction algorithm. • SSNs' semi-automated classification agreement (pure vs. part-solid) did not significantly differ between algorithms.

Keywords: Iterative reconstruction; Lung neoplasms; Measurement variability; Multidetector computed tomography; Subsolid nodule.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Pulmonary Nodules / diagnostic imaging*
  • Multiple Pulmonary Nodules / pathology
  • Observer Variation
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Software
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*