Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)- Diagnostics

What is cone beam computed tomography (CBCT)?

CBCT is a type of a radiographic imaging method that allows precise, three-dimensional (3D) imaging of hard tissue structures. It can provide images of better diagnostic quality with shorter scanning times (around 60 seconds). It is basically a variation of traditional computed tomography (CT) and differs from conventional CT technique in that instead of fan-shaped x-ray beam, CBCT uses cone-shaped x-ray beam. Along with its use predominantly in dental and extremity imaging, recently it has been used in breast imaging as well.

CBCT systems are widely used by radiologists and dental professionals for numerous clinical applications such as visualization of abnormal teeth, diagnosis of dental cavities, diagnosis of root canal, diagnosis of dental trauma, dental implant planning, evaluation of the jaws and face, and cleft palate evaluation.

The procedure:

The CBCT is predominantly used by dental professionals which is generally performed within 30 minutes. Patient is asked to seat in the CBCT machine and the head is carefully positioned. Patient is asked to seat absolutely still and is not allowed to talk, swallow or any other jaw movement during the exposure while the scan is taken.

When the scan is taken, the machine basically rotates around the patient and captures data by using a cone-shaped X-ray beam. The information from these data helps to reconstruct a three-dimensional (3D) image of the certain regions of the patient’s body such as teeth, mouth, jaw, neck, ears, nose, and throat.

CBCT provides detailed information which cannot be acquired from regular x-ray. No special aftercare is required and patient can go back to regular activities after the scan is over.

Advantages of CBCT:

  • Rapid scan time: As CBCT obtains all projection images in a single rotation, examination time is reduced.
  • Due to rapid scan time, there is reduced artifact due to subject movement.
  • CBCT provides high quality accurate images.
  • CBCT units reconstruct the projection data and provides interrelational images in three different orthogonal planes (axial, sagittal, and coronal).
  • Reconstruction of CBCT data is performed using a personal computer. Thus the obtained data can be reoriented in a manner that the patient’s anatomic features are readjusted.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.