AIM: To compare low-contrast detectability, and qualitative and quantitative image parameters on standard and reduced radiation dose abdominal CT reconstructed with filtered back projection (FBP) and model-based iterative reconstruction (MBIR).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A custom built liver phantom containing 43 lesions was imaged at 120 kVp and four radiation dose levels (100% = 188 mAs, 50%, 25%, and 10%). Image noise and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR) were assessed. Lesion detection and qualitative image analysis (five-point Likert scale with 1 = worst, 5 = best for confidence) was performed by three independent radiologists.
RESULTS: CNR on MBIR images was significantly higher (mean 246%, range 151-383%) and image noise was significantly lower (69%, 59-78%) than on FBP images at the same radiation dose (both p < 0.05). On MBIR 10% images, CNR (3.3 ± 0.3) was significantly higher and noise (15 ± 1HU) significantly lower than on FBP 100% images (2.5 ± 0.1; 21 ± 1 HU). On 100% images, lesion attenuation was significantly lower with MBIR than with FBP (mean difference -2 HU). Low-contrast detectability and qualitative results were similar with MBIR 50% and FBP 100%.
CONCLUSION: Low-contrast detectability with MBIR 50% and FBP 100% were equal. Quantitative parameters on even lower dose MBIR images are superior to 100%-dose FBP images. Some attenuation values differ significantly with MBIR compared with FBP.