Helical CT: principles and technical considerations

Radiographics : a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc
J A BrinkM W Vannier


The performance of helical CT requires several user-defined parameters that exceed the requirements of conventional CT. One needs to carefully select the collimation, table increment, and reconstruction interval. Minimizing these parameters maximizes longitudinal resolution but with various trade-offs. Decreasing the collimation decreases the effective section thickness but increases pixel noise. Limiting the table increment to a pitch of 1 limits the broadening of the effective section thickness associated with the helical technique but also limits the coverage that can be achieved with a given helical scan. Our general practice is to minimize the collimation to cover the volume of interest and to accept a pitch up to 2, provided that we are using 180 degree interpolation. The reconstruction interval is also minimized to maximize longitudinal resolution but with trade-offs of increased image processing time, data storage requirements, and physician time for image review. For routine diagnosis, we recommend reconstruction of one to two sections per table increment, and, for multiplanar and three-dimensional imaging, we recommend at least three sections be reconstructed per table increment. The scan duration is dictated by both ...Continue Reading


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