Expanding the utilization of low-dose computed tomography in plastic and reconstructive surgery based on validated practices among surgical specialties

Brittany Lala, Jinesh Shah, Trina M. Salvador, Joseph A. Ricci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: As computed tomography (CT) usage increases, so have concerns over radiation-induced malignancy. To mitigate these risks, low-dose CT (LDCT) has emerged as a versatile alternative by other specialties, although its use in plastic surgery remains sparse. This study aimed to investigate validated uses of LDCT across surgical specialties and extrapolate these insights to expand its application for plastic surgeons. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines using search terms “low dose CT” OR “low dose computed tomography” AND “surgery,” where the name of each surgical specialty was substituted for word “surgery” and each specialty term was searched separately in combination with the 2 CT terms. Data on radiation dose, outcomes, and level of evidence were collected. Validated surgical applications were correlated with similar procedures and diagnostic tests performed routinely by plastic surgeons to extrapolate potential applications for plastic surgeons. Results: A total of 3505 articles were identified across surgical specialties, with 27 ultimately included. Depending on the application, use of LDCT led to a 25% to 97% reduction in radiation dose and all studies reported noninferior image quality and diagnostic capability compared with standard-dose CT. Potential identified uses included the following: evaluation of soft tissue infections, preoperative and postoperative management of facial and hand fractures, flap design, 3D modeling, and surgical planning. Discussion: Low-dose CT is a valid imaging alternative to standard-dose CT. Expanded utilization in plastic surgery should be considered to minimize the iatrogenic effects of radiation and to promote patient safety without compromising outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E163-E170
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Volume87
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Keywords

  • Computed tomography
  • Iatrogenic tumors
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Low dose
  • Standard dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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