Is cone beam computed tomography accurate for postoperative evaluation of implants? An in vitro study

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) for evaluation of the bone–implant interface in comparison with periapical radiography.

Study Design.

Titanium implants were inserted in 74 bovine rib blocks in intimate contact with bone walls and with a gap of 0.125 mm (simulating failure in the osseointegration process). Periapical radiographs were taken with conventional film, and CBCT scans were acquired with i-CAT (0.2 mm and 0.125 mm voxel) and Kodak (0.2 mm and 0.076 mm voxel) units. Three examiners evaluated the images using a 5-point scale. Diagnostic accuracy was analyzed through sensitivity, specificity, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Intra- and interexaminer agreements were analyzed through Kendall's concordance test.


Intra- and interexaminer agreements showed satisfactory results. The greatest accuracy was observed with conventional radiography (AUC = 0.963; CI 95% = 0.891-0.993). I-CAT 0.125-mm images showed good accuracy (AUC = 0.885; CI 95% = 0.790-0.947), with no significant difference compared with conventional radiography. Kodak images had high specificity and low sensitivity, presenting more false-negative results.


Conventional radiography showed the highest accuracy for assessment of the bone–implant interface. However, CBCT (i-CAT; 0.125-mm voxel), if available or if performed for preoperative assessment of another implant site, may provide similar accuracy.

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