Optimizing radiation dose parameters in MDCT arthrography of the shoulder: illustration of basic concepts in a cadaveric study

  • Julien Aguet
  • Fabio Becce
  • Vincent Dunet
  • Alain Vlassenbroek
  • Emmanuel E. Coche
  • Patrick OmoumiEmail author
Technical Report



To determine in a cadaveric study the lowest achievable radiation dose and optimal tube potential generating diagnostic image quality in multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) arthrography of the shoulder.

Materials and methods

Six shoulders from three human cadavers were scanned using a 256-MDCT system after intra-articular injection of diluted iodinated contrast material. Using six decreasing radiation dose levels (CTDIvol: 20, 15, 10, 8, 6, and 4 mGy) and for each dose level, four decreasing tube potentials (140, 120, 100, and 80 kVp), image noise and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were measured. Two independent and blinded observers assessed the overall diagnostic image quality, subjective amount of noise, and severity of artifacts according to a four-point scale. Influence of those MDCT data acquisition parameters on objective and subjective image quality was analyzed using the Kruskal–Wallis and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, and pairwise comparisons were performed.


Multidetector CT protocols with radiation doses of 15 mGy or higher, combined with tube potentials of 100 kVp or higher, were equivalent in CNR to the reference 20 mGy–140 kVp protocol (all p ≥ 0.054). Above a CTDIvol of 10 mGy and a tube potential of 120 kVp, all protocols generated diagnostic image quality and subjective noise equivalent to the 20 mGy–140 kVp protocol (all p ≥ 0.22).


Diagnostic image quality in MDCT arthrography of the shoulder can be obtained with a radiation dose of 10 mGy at an optimal tube potential of 120 kVp, corresponding to a reduction of up to 50% compared with standard-dose protocols, and as high as 500% compared with reported protocols in the literature.


MDCT CT Shoulder Arthrography Radiation dose Image quality 



We would like to thank the Anatomy Lab of the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, for providing us with the cadavers.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© ISS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julien Aguet
    • 1
  • Fabio Becce
    • 1
  • Vincent Dunet
    • 1
  • Alain Vlassenbroek
    • 2
  • Emmanuel E. Coche
    • 3
  • Patrick Omoumi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional RadiologyLausanne University Hospital and University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Philips HealthcareBruxellesBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-LucUniversité Catholique de LouvainBruxellesBelgium

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