Ultra-low-dose computed tomography for torsion measurements of the lower extremities in children and adolescents

Insights Imaging. 2022 Jul 15;13(1):118. doi: 10.1186/s13244-022-01257-w.


Background: Quantifying femoral and tibial torsion is crucial in the preoperative planning for derotation surgery in children and adolescents. The use of an ultra-low-dose computed tomography (CT) protocol might be possible for modern CT scanners and suitable for reliable torsion measurements even though the bones are not completely ossified.

Methods: This is a retrospective review of 77 children/adolescents (mean age 12.7 years) who underwent a lower extremity CT for torsion measurements on a 64-slice scanner. A stepwise dose reduction (70%, 50%, 30% of the original dose) was simulated. Torsion measurements were performed on all image datasets, and image noise, interrater agreement and subjective image quality were evaluated. Effective radiation dose of each original scan was estimated. As proof of concept, 24 children were scanned with an ultra-low-dose protocol, adapted from the 30% dose simulation, and the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) was determined. Ethics approval and informed consent were given.

Results: Torsion measurements at the simulated 30% dose level had equivalent interrater agreement compared to the 100% dose level (ICC ≥ 0.99 for all locations and dose levels). Image quality of almost all datasets was rated excellent, regardless of dose. The mean sum of the effective dose of the total torsion measurement was reduced by simulation from 0.460/0.490 mSv (boys/girls) at 100% dose to 0.138/0.147 mSv at 30%. The ICC of the proof-of-concept group was as good as that of the simulated 30% dose level.

Conclusion: Pediatric torsion measurements of the lower extremities can be performed using an ultra-low-dose protocol without compromising diagnostic confidence.

Keywords: Children; Femoral torsion; Radiation dose; Tibial torsion; Ultra-low-dose CT.