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Planmeca Decreases Patient Doses for 3D Images of the Head

Planmeca has developed smart technologies that help decrease the amount of radiation required to produce medical images without compromising the diagnostic quality of the images.


Low-dose imaging is beneficial for any patient, but it is particularly significant for children, as a child’s body has comparably more radiation-sensitive red bone marrow than the body of an adult.

When new scientific studies on the subject were published around a decade ago, Planmeca began to develop its own dose measurement solutions. Planmeca believed that these solutions could help decrease ionizing radiation doses in medical imaging.

Juha Koivisto, Planmeca’s chief physicist and a long-time employee, decided to write his doctoral dissertation on the subject at the University of Helsinki.

“We noticed during our research that we could decrease the radiation dose without affecting the diagnostic quality of our images. When we compared our low-dose imaging solution to traditional methods used in the field, we discovered that the radiation dose could be reduced by 77%,” says Koivisto.

Using a dosimeter to observe how radiation is formed

Planmeca Ultra Low Dose is a smart, algorithm-based low-dose imaging protocol that was launched in 2014. Before the company could develop the new product, it first needed to create a real-time dosimeter. The device allows the company’s researchers to observe how a radiation dose is formed.

“The dosimeter includes a patient model called a phantom, which has sensors that measure radiation doses. When a phantom is exposed to a radiation beam produced by a CBCT unit or another X-ray device, these sensors measure residual dose levels in tissues in order to derive effective doses. This allows us to gain an understanding of the organs the beam reaches and the makeup of the effective dose in the head region. Different organs have different weighting factors,” notes Koivisto.

“For example, bone marrow, which is renewed at the fastest rate, has the largest weighting factor. If it is exposed to radiation, the effective dose is larger than a dose that is aimed at skin or the brain,”  Koivisto continues.

The dosimeter was used to review every imaging protocol used by Planmeca.

Diagnostic requirements determine the area, precision and radiation dose of an image

Planmeca is developing its clinical 3D imaging applications for implant and orthodontic treatments, respiratory tract and sinus examinations, and maxillofacial surgeries.

With Planmeca’s devices, dentists and radiologists can now base the right imaging protocols and radiation doses on each patient’s diagnostic needs. Professionals in the field usually have a good understanding of the radiation doses required to achieve images of a certain quality. The Finnish Radiation Act mandates that a patient should not be subjected to more than the minimum amount of radiation necessary for the diagnosis in question.

Implant or root area treatments require more enhanced and detailed 3D images, and the imaging of these smaller regions often requires larger radiation doses. However, the jaw area images used as part of orthodontic treatments usually require images of a lower resolution and a smaller radiation dose.

Planmeca’s devices can capture images of a 10 X 10 cm area with a radiation dose as low as 12 microsieverts. Physicians can lower the dose by, for example, limiting the size of the volume or by decreasing the imaging values used, i.e. by changing the quality of the image. In practice, the low dose imaging process has been made to be as quick and easy as possible – all you need to do is press a green button.

Read more here: planmeca.com

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