Background: Radiographic images in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) have a potential radiation-induced oncogenic effect; thus lowering radiation dose by using fluoroscopic imaging technique of low-dose fluoroscopic technique (LFT) which might be relevant for clinical evaluation.
Purpose: To compare radiographs of LFT with gold standard radiographs for AIS ordinary radiographic technique (ORT).
Material and Methods: Image quality was evaluated for LTF and ORT of a child phantom and two 3D-printed models (3DPSs) of AIS. We measured the primary physical characteristics of noise, contrast, spatial resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and contrast-to-noise ratio. Three independent evaluators assessed the radiographs by observer-based methods of image criteria (ICS) and visual grading analysis(VGAS). Radiation doses were evaluated by the dose-area-product (DAP) of the 25 phantom radiographs. Reliability and agreement of Cobb's angle (CA) and other radiographic parameters were evaluated on the 3DPSs and reliability on 342 LFT.
Results: The average noise and contrast were approximately 15-fold higher for LFT. SNR and CNR were similar. Overall, ICS and VGAS were 3-fold higher for ORT than for LFT for L3 and similar for Th6. Reliability and agreement were good for the experimental LFT, and the interclass correlation coefficient for CA was 0.852 for the clinical LFT. The average DAP and effective dose for LFT were 8-fold lower than those for ORT.
Conclusion: In conclusion, LFT is reliable for CA measurements and is thus useful for clinical outpatient follow-up evaluation. Even though the image quality is lower for LFT than ORT, the merits are the substantially reduced radiation and a lowered malignancy risk without compromising the measurement of Cobb's angle, thus following the principles of ALARA.