Dual-Energy CT: Basic Principles, Technical Approaches, and Applications in Musculoskeletal Imaging (Part 1)

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In recent years, technological advances have allowed manufacturers to implement dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) on clinical scanners. With its unique ability to differentiate basis materials by their atomic number, DECT has opened new perspectives in imaging. DECT has been used successfully in musculoskeletal imaging with applications ranging from detection, characterization, and quantification of crystal and iron deposits; to simulation of noncalcium (improving the visualization of bone marrow lesions) or noniodine images. Furthermore, the data acquired with DECT can be postprocessed to generate monoenergetic images of varying kiloelectron volts, providing new methods for image contrast optimization as well as metal artifact reduction. The first part of this article reviews the basic principles and technical aspects of DECT including radiation dose considerations. The second part focuses on applications of DECT to musculoskeletal imaging including gout and other crystal-induced arthropathies, virtual noncalcium images for the study of bone marrow lesions, the study of collagenous structures, applications in computed tomography arthrography, as well as the detection of hemosiderin and metal particles.

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