The clinical usefulness of routine stacked multiplanar reconstruction in helical abdominal computed tomography

Invest Radiol. 1997 Sep;32(9):550-6. doi: 10.1097/00004424-199709000-00007.


Rationale and objectives: The authors evaluate the usefulness of stacked multiplanar reconstructions in routine, thick-section abdominal computed tomography.

Materials and methods: Twenty-five routine, thick-section contrast abdominal CTs performed with equivalent technique were reformatted by multiplanar reconstructions in sagittal and coronal planes sequentially from side-to-side and front-to-back. The image sets were submitted, first axial images only followed by axial plus multiplanar reconstructions (MPRs), to 5 separate physician readers including 2 radiologists and 3 nonradiologists. These readers graded the visualization of a variety of normal and up to 5 pathologic lesions per patient on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 = best).

Results: The addition of sagittal and coronal multiplanar reconstructions significantly improved the visualization of all normal anatomic structures (mean axial only, 3.8; mean axial plus MPR, 4.1; P < 0.0001). In addition, most pathologic lesions were statistically better visualized with the addition of multiplanar reconstructions (mean axial images only, 3.9; mean axial plus MPR, 4.1; P < 0.0001). All five readers found improved visualization in nearly every category with the addition of the multiplanar reconstructions. However, in only 7% of cases, did a reviewer find new diagnostic information with the addition of MPR images.

Conclusions: Stacked multiplanar reconstructions of routine, thick-section abdominal CT has clinical value in both the display of normal anatomic and pathologic lesions. Further studies, however, are required to confirm these findings before it is commonly used.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Radiography, Abdominal*
  • Random Allocation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*