Estimating cancer risk from dental cone-beam CT exposures based on skin dosimetry

Ruben Pauwels, Lesley Cockmartin, Deimante Ivanauskaité, Ausra Urboniene, Sophia Gavala, Catherine Donta, Kostas Tsiklakis, Reinhilde Jacobs, Hilde Bosmans, Ria Bogaerts, Keith Horner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The aim of this study was to measure entrance skin doses on patients undergoing cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) examinations, to establish conversion factors between skin and organ doses, and to estimate cancer risk from CBCT exposures. 266 patients (age 8-83) were included, involving three imaging centres. CBCT scans were acquired using the SCANORA 3D (Soredex, Tuusula, Finland) and NewTom 9000 (QR, Verona, Italy). Eight thermoluminescent dosimeters were attached to the patient's skin at standardized locations. Using previously published organ dose estimations on various CBCTs with an anthropomorphic phantom, correlation factors to convert skin dose to organ doses were calculated and applied to estimate patient organ doses. The BEIR VII age- and gender-dependent dose-risk model was applied to estimate the lifetime attributable cancer risk. For the SCANORA 3D, average skin doses over the eight locations varied between 484 and 1788μGy. For the NewTom 9000 the range was between 821 and 1686μGy for Centre 1 and between 292 and 2325μGy for Centre 2. Entrance skin dose measurements demonstrated the combined effect of exposure and patient factors on the dose. The lifetime attributable cancer risk, expressed as the probability to develop a radiation-induced cancer, varied between 2.7 per million (age >60) and 9.8per million (age 8-11) with an average of 6.0 per million. On average, the risk for female patients was 40% higher. The estimated radiation risk was primarily influenced by the age at exposure and the gender, pointing out the continuing need for justification and optimization of CBCT exposures, with a specific focus on children. © 2014 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3877-3891
    Number of pages14
    JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2014


    • cone-beam computed tomography
    • dentistry
    • radiation dosimetry
    • radiation protection
    • radiation-induced cancer


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