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A Comparison of Maxillofacial CBCT and Medical CT

      In 1972, the independent findings of Hounsfield and Cormack revolutionized diagnostic imaging with the invention of the computed tomography (CT) scanner [
      • Hounsfield G.N.
      Nobel lecture, 8 December 1979. Computed medical imaging.
      ,
      • Cormack A.M.
      Early two-dimensional reconstruction (CT scanning) and recent topics stemming from it. Nobel lecture, December 8, 1979.
      ]. For the first time, practitioners had access to x-ray devices that could generate narrow cross-sectional images, usually perpendicular to the long axis of the human body, hence, the term computed axial tomography or CAT scan. This technology, fan-beam CT, was the first practical electronic application of the tomographic principal in diagnostic imaging [
      • Ziesdes des Plantes B.G.
      Selected works of B.G. Ziesdes des Plantes.
      ] and provided images that eliminated the superimposition of adjacent anatomic structures inherent in conventional plain projection radiography and the blur of analog tomography. The availability of CT images facilitated new perspectives in imaging diagnosis by reducing much of the guesswork that was often interlaced with projection imaging. CT is now an essential imaging modality of the diagnostic algorithm for an increasing variety of clinical applications [
      • Mahesh M.
      Search for isotropic resolution in CT from conventional through multiple-row detector.
      ]. CT acquisition has subsequently been refined to incorporate a helical or spiral synchronous motion, fan-shaped beam, and multiple detector acquisition (MDCT), which enables fast scan times that provide high-quality images that can be integrated to produce a volumetric dataset. Although CT has been available for more than 4 decades, its clinical applications in dentistry have been limited because of the high equipment cost, limited access because of the certificate-of-need requirements in some jurisdictions, and radiation dose considerations (Fig. 1A).
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Fig. 1(A) Modern multi-slice CT scanner (Toshiba Aquilion 64 [Toshiba Medical Systems, Tokyo, Japan]). (B) Modern CBCT scanner (NewTom Vgi [QR Verona, Verona, Italy]) similar in appearance to a panoramic machine.
      (Courtesy of TOSHIBA medical [A], NewTom Vgi [B]; with permission.)
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