Decreasing the effective radiation dose in pediatric craniofacial CT by changing head position

Ryne A. Didier, Anna A. Kuang, Daniel L. Schwartz, Nathan R. Selden, Donna M. Stevens, Dianna M.E. Bardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Children are exposed to ionizing radiation during pre- and post-operative evaluation for craniofacial surgery. Objective: The primary purpose of the study was to decrease effective radiation dose while preserving the diagnostic quality of the study. Materials and methods: In this prospective study 49 children were positioned during craniofacial CT (CFCT) imaging with their neck fully extended into an exaggerated sniff position, parallel to the CT gantry, to eliminate the majority of the cervical spine and the thyroid gland from radiation exposure. Image-quality and effective radiation dose comparisons were made retrospectively in age-matched controls (n∈=∈49). Results: When compared to CT scans reviewed retrospectively, the prospective examinations showed a statistically significant decrease in z-axis length by 16% (P∈<∈0.0001) and delivered a reduced effective radiation dose by 18% (P∈<∈0.0001). The subjective diagnostic quality of the exams performed in the prospective arm was maintained despite a slight decrease in the quality of the brain windows. There was statistically significant improvement in the quality of the bone windows and three-dimensional reconstructed images. Conclusion: Altering the position of the head by extending the neck during pediatric craniofacial CT imaging statistically reduces the effective radiation dose while maintaining the diagnostic quality of the images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1910-1917
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Craniofacial CT
  • Image quality
  • Pediatric
  • Radiation dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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