Intraoral radiographic storage phosphor image mean pixel values and signal-to-noise ratio: Effects of calibration

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Abstract

Objective.

The DIGORA intraoral radiographic storage phosphor system needs to be calibrated before images are made. Calibration involves inputting of the maximum exposure to be used. This investigation studied the effects of different maximum exposure calibration settings on the mean pixel value for selected regions of interest and the signal-to-noise ratio for images of a test phantom.

Study design.

A dental phantom containing a step wedge made of different thicknesses of homogeneously radiopaque bone-equivalent material was imaged at 70 kVp with exposures ranging from 12.8 to 105.2 μC · kg−1. Images were displayed through use of imaging software, and a region of interest was set for each bone-step. The mean pixel values and their standard deviations were measured.

Results.

Except for very low exposures (<10% of the calibrated maximum), there was a linear relationship between exposure and the pixel values within the regions of interest irrespective of the calibrated maximum exposure. Low exposures resulted in underexposed low-contrast images. Low calibrated maximum exposures (<54.5 μC · kg−1) resulted in low-density images with poor signal-to-noise ratios.

Conclusions.

Because of the very wide image latitude of the DIGORA system, loss of image quality was not observed as a result of adjustments in the calibration setting over the range of exposures commonly used in dental practice. The highest accepted exposure was limited by prior calibration; hence, if diligence is applied, patient exposure can be minimized without detriment to image quality.

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