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Cone Beam CT

What is a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan and what does it cover?

A CBCT scanner looks just like an x-ray machine to take dental radiographs. It is able to produce both 2D x-ray images but also 3D images of the jaw and face, similar to a conventional multidetector CT (MDCT) scanner. It is used in the diagnosis and planning of oral and maxillofacial surgery, and ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery, as well as redirecting sinus and temporal bone imaging from the busy conventional MDCT service. Redirecting the maxillofacial CT work to CBCT saves up to 26 days per year of MDCT scanning time, as well as reducing wait times in both A&E and for inpatients, thus also improving patient flow through the hospital.

CBCT instead of multidetector CT

A major benefit of CBCT is the reduction in radiation dose, with a reduction of radiation of a third, and possibly up to a fifth, of that encountered in MDCT.

Scan times are also much shorter for CBCT, with appointments in the region of 5 minutes rather than 20 minutes for a conventional CT scan.

The CBCT service is also offered to non-UHL referrers, such as dental practices.

Why are patients referred for this scan?

Metal artefact reduction techniques possible on CBCT are ideal for dental and sinus related imaging, hence patients may be referred for the assessment of unerupted teeth, surgical planning for removal of supernumerary/wisdom teeth to assess their relation to local important anatomical structures, prior to complex root surgery, pre-dental implant, and sinus imaging. In addition, the high resolution images produced are ideal for demonstrating small structures such as those related to hearing.

Where is this scan performed?

The service is currently predominantly on an outpatient, appointment basis only and is located at the Balmoral X-ray, Leicester Royal Infirmary Radiology Department.

After the scan

Patients are not given any medication. The scan is safe and doesn’t carry any side effects so patients will be able to go about their day as normal.

Contact details for further information

Queries can be directed to 0116 258 8765 – Option 3. Clinical questions will be directed to a clinical lead where one is available.