Cone-Beam CT Versus Multi-slice CT Systems for Postoperative Imaging of Cochlear Implantation—A Phantom Study on Image Quality and Radiation Exposure Using Human Temporal Bones

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Image quality of low-dose multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) after cochlear implantation is comparable to that of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT).


CBCT has been described as a low-dose alternative with superior image quality to MSCT for postoperative cochlear implant (CI) imaging, but to our knowledge, no dose-matched comparisons of image quality have been published.

Materials and Methods

Five human cochleae were implanted with CI electrodes and scanned on two CBCT and two MSCT systems. Four independent observers rated aspects of image quality on a five-point scale. CBCT scans were compared to clinical and dose-matched MSCT scans. Declining-dose MSCT protocols were compared to the clinical protocol. CT phantoms were used to determine effective dose and resolution for each acquisition protocol.


Effective dose of the CBCT protocols was 6 to 16% of the clinical MSCT dose. Visibility of cochlear inner and outer walls and overall image quality were positively correlated with radiation dose on MSCT and image quality was better with clinical MSCT than with CBCT protocols. In other comparisons, differences between systems were found, but a distinction between CBCT and MSCT could not be made.


CBCT and dose-matched MSCT are both suitable for postoperative CI imaging. Selecting a CT system and radiation dose depends on which cochlear structures need to be visualized.

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