During surgery for spinal deformities, accurate placement of pedicle screws may be guided by intraoperative cone-beam flat-detector CT.
The purpose of this study was to identify appropriate paediatric imaging protocols aiming to reduce the radiation dose in line with the ALARA principle.
Materials and methods
Using O-arm® (Medtronic, Inc.), three paediatric phantoms were employed to measure CTDIw doses with default and lowered exposure settings. Images from 126 scans were evaluated by two spinal surgeons and scores were compared (Kappa statistics). Effective doses were calculated. The recommended new low-dose 3-D spine protocols were then used in 15 children.
The lowest acceptable exposure as judged by image quality for intraoperative use was 70 kVp/40 mAs, 70 kVp/80 mAs and 80 kVp/40 mAs for the 1-, 5- and 12-year-old-equivalent phantoms respectively (kappa = 0,70). Optimised dose settings reduced CTDIw doses 89–93%. The effective dose was 0.5 mSv (91–94,5% reduction). The optimised protocols were used clinically without problems.
Radiation doses for intraoperative 3-D CT using a cone-beam flat-detector scanner could be reduced at least 89% compared to manufacturer settings and still be used to safely navigate pedicle screws.