The influence of patient positioning on radiation dose in CT imaging: A narrative review

Yazan Al-Hayek, Xiaoming Zheng, Christopher Hayre, Kelly Spuur

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose: Although it is fundamental for optimal scanner operation, it is generally accepted that accurate patient centring cannot always be achieved. This review aimed to examine the reported knowledge of the negative impact of patient positioning on radiation dose and image quality during CT imaging. Furthermore, the study evaluated the current optimisation tools and techniques used to improve patient positioning relative to the gantry iso-center. Methodology: A comprehensive search through the databases PubMed, Ovid, and Google Scholar was performed. Keywords included patient off-centring, patient positioning, localiser radiograph orientation, radiation dose, and automatic patient positioning (including synonyms). The search was limited to full-text articles that were written in English. After initial title and abstract screening, a total of 52 articles were identified to address the aim of the review. No limitations were imposed on the year of publication. Results: Vertical off-centring was reported in up to 95% of patients undergoing chest and abdominal CT examinations, showing a significant influence on radiation dose. Depending on the scanner model and vendor, localiser orientation, bowtie filter used, and patient size, radiation dose varied from a decrease of 36% to an increase of 91%. A significant dose reduction was demonstrated when utilising an AP localiser, aligning with the trend for radiographers to off-center patients below the gantry iso-centre. Utilizing a 3D camera for body contour detection allowed for more accurate patient positioning and promoted further dose reduction. Conclusion: Patient positioning has shown significant effects on radiation dose and image quality in CT. Developing a good understanding of the key factors influencing patient dose (off-centring direction, localiser orientation, patient size and bowtie filter selection) is critical in optimising CT scanning practices. Utilising a 3D camera for body contour detection is strongly recommended to improve patient positioning accuracy, image quality and to minimise patient dose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-747
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date21 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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