Low-Energy Virtual Monochromatic Dual-Energy Computed Tomography Images for the Evaluation of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Study of Tumor Visibility Compared With Single-Energy Computed Tomography and User Acceptance

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Dual-energy computed tomography (CT) 40-keV virtual monochromatic images (VMIs) have been reported to improve visualization of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, but a direct comparison to single-energy CT (SECT) is lacking, and there is debate regarding subjective user preference. We compared 40-keV VMIs with SECT and performed a subjective evaluation of their utility and acceptability for clinical use.


A total of 60 dual-energy CT and 60 SECT scans from 2 different institutions were evaluated. Tumor conspicuity was evaluated objectively using absolute and relative attenuation and subjectively by 3 head and neck specialists and 3 general radiologists.


Tumors had significantly higher absolute and relative attenuation on 40-keV VMIs (P < 0.0001). Subjectively, the 40-keV VMIs improved visualization, with substantial (κ, 0.61–0.80) to almost perfect (κ, 0.81–1) interrater agreements.


The 40-keV VMIs improve tumor visibility objectively and subjectively both by head and neck specialists and general radiologists.

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