Impact of voxel size and scan time on the accuracy of three-dimensional radiological imaging data from cone-beam computed tomography

Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery



Three-dimensional (3D) radiological imaging plays an important role in surgical planning used in modern dentistry. The aim of this study was to optimize imaging parameters with a special focus on voxel size and scan time.

Material and Methods

A virtual 3D master model of a macerated human skull was generated using an industrial optical noncontact white light scanner. The skull was X-rayed with cone-beam computed tomography that was applied using different settings for voxel size and acquisition time (voxel edge length of 0.3 mm, scan times 4.8 s and 8.9 s; voxel edge length of 0.2 mm, scan times 14.7 s and 26.9 s). The scan was repeated 10 times at each setting. The CBCT scans were converted into 3D virtual models (actual value), which were superimposed with the 3D master model (reference value) to detect absolute differences.


The mean value of deviation increased with increasing voxel size and decreasing scan time. For a voxel edge length of 0.3 mm, the mean values of deviation were 0.33 mm and 0.22 mm with scan times of 4.8 s and 8.9 s, respectively. For a voxel edge length of 0.2 mm, the mean deviations were 0.16 mm and 0.14 mm with scan times of 14.7 s and 26.9 s, respectively.


When using small voxel sizes, the scan time does not have a significant impact on image accuracy and therefore the scan time can be shortened. However, for larger voxel sizes, shorter scan times can lead to increased inaccuracy.


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