Ultra-high-resolution imaging of the shoulder and pelvis using photon-counting-detector CT: a feasibility study in patients

Francis I. Baffour, Kishore Rajendran, Katrina N. Glazebrook, Jamison E. Thorne, Nicholas B. Larson, Shuai Leng, Cynthia H. McCollough, Joel G. Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate ultra-high-resolution (UHR) imaging of large joints using an investigational photon-counting detector (PCD) CT. Materials and methods: Patients undergoing clinical shoulder or pelvis energy-integrating-detector (EID) CT exam were scanned using the UHR mode of the PCD-CT system. Axial EID-CT images (1-mm sections) and PCD-CT images (0.6-mm sections) were reconstructed using Br62/Br64 and Br76 kernels, respectively. Two musculoskeletal radiologists rated visualization of anatomic structures using a 5-point Likert scale. Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used for statistical analysis of reader scores, and paired t-test was used for comparing bone CT numbers and image noise from PCD-CT and EID-CT. Results: Thirty-two patients (17 shoulders and 15 pelvis) were prospectively recruited for this feasibility study. Mean age for shoulder exams was 67.3 ± 15.5 years (11 females) and 47.2 ± 15.8 years (11 females) for pelvis exams. The mean volume CT dose index was lower on PCD-CT compared to that on EID-CT (shoulders: 18 mGy vs. 34 mGy, pelvis: 11.6 mGy vs. 16.7 mGy). PCD-CT was rated significantly better than EID-CT (p < 0.001) for anatomic-structure visualization. Trabecular delineation in shoulders (mean score = 4.24 ± 0.73) and femoroacetabular joint visualization in the pelvis (mean score = 3.67 ± 1.03) received the highest scores. PCD-CT demonstrated significant increase in bone CT number (p < 0.001) relative to EID-CT; no significant difference in image noise was found between PCD-CT and EID-CT. Conclusion: The evaluated PCD-CT system provided improved visualization of osseous structures in the shoulders and pelvises at a 31–47% lower radiation dose compared to EID-CT. Key Points: • A full field-of-view PCD-CT with 0.151 mm × 0.176 mm detector pixel size (isocenter) facilitates bilateral, high-resolution imaging of shoulders and pelvis. • The evaluated investigational PCD-CT system was rated superior by two musculoskeletal radiologists for anatomic structure visualization in shoulders and pelvises despite a 31–47% lower radiation dose compared to EID-CT. • PCD-CT demonstrated significantly higher bone CT number compared to EID-CT, while no significant difference in image noise was observed between PCD-CT and EID-CT despite a 31–47% dose reduction on PCD-CT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7079-7086
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Hip joint
  • Pelvis
  • Radiation dosage
  • Shoulder
  • X-ray computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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