Standard Versus Low-Dose Computed Tomography for Assessment of Acetabular Fracture Reduction.

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Publication Date


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Journal of orthopaedic trauma


OBJECTIVE: First, to assess the impact of varying computed tomography (CT) radiation dose on surgeon assessment of postfixation acetabular fracture reduction and malpositioned implants. Second, to quantify the accuracy of CT assessments compared with the experimentally set displacement in cadaver specimens. We hypothesized that a CT dose would not affect the assessments and that CT assessments would show a high concordance with known displacement.

METHODS: We created posterior wall acetabular fractures in 8 fresh-frozen cadaver hips and reduced them with varying combinations of step and gap displacement. The insertion of an intra-articular screw was randomized. Each specimen had a CT with standard (120 kV), intermediate (100 kV), and low-dose (80 kV) protocols, with and without metal artifact reduction postprocessing. Reviewers quantified gap and step displacement, overall reduction, quality of the scan, and identified intra-articular implants.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the CT dose protocols for assessment of gap, step, overall displacement, or the presence of intra-articular screws. Reviewers correctly categorized displacement as anatomic (0-1 mm), imperfect (2-3 mm), or poor (>3 mm) in 27.5%-57.5% of specimens. When the anatomic and imperfect categories were condensed into a single category, these scores improved to 52.5%-82.5%. Intra-articular screws were correctly identified in 56.3% of cases. Interobserver reliability was poor or moderate for all items. Reviewers rated the quality of most scans as "sufficient" (60.0%-72.5%); reviewers more frequently rated the low-dose CT as "inferior" (30.0%) and the standard dose CT as "excellent" (25%).

CONCLUSION: A CT dose did not affect assessment of displacement, intra-articular screw penetration, or subjective rating of scan quality in the setting of a fixed posterior wall fracture.

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine