Dual-Energy (Spectral) CT: Applications in Ab- dominal Imaging
RadioGraphics 2011; 31:1031-1046
Alvin C. Silva, MD , Brian G. Morse, MD ,Amy K. Hara, MD , Robert G. Paden, MS , Norio Hongo, MD • William Pavlicek, PhD
Dual-energy imaging is a promising new development in computed tomography (CT) that has the potential to improve lesion detection and characterization beyond levels currently achievable with conventional CT techniques. In dual-energy CT (DECT), the simultaneous use of two different energy settings allows the differentiation of materials on the basis of their energy-related attenuation characteristics (material density). The datasets obtained with DECT can be used to reconstruct virtual unenhanced images as well as iodinated contrast material-enhanced material density images, obviating the standard two-phase (unenhanced and contrast-enhanced) scanning protocol and thus helping minimize the radiation dose received by the patient. Single-source DECT, which is performed with rapid alternation between two energy levels, can also generate computed monochromatic images, which are less vulnerable to artifacts such as beam hardening and pseudoenhancement and provide a higher contrast-to-noise ratio than polychromatic images produced by conventional CT. Familiarity with the capabilities of DECT may help radiologists improve their diagnostic performance.