Cone Beam Computerized Tomography (CBCT) Scan
A cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) scan is much like a traditional x-ray, but rather than producing overlapping images of structures, it produces a 3D image shaped like a cone. This is beneficial for plastic and reconstructive surgeons in many ways. If you are scheduled for a CBCT scan during your consultation, the following information will help you learn more about the process, the risks, and what you should expect.
When is a CBCT Scan Preferable?
A CBCT scan produces images that have far more detail than a traditional x-ray, and this allows surgeons to better visualize bony facial structures like your jaws, cheekbones, and teeth. Whereas a standard x-ray limits surgeons to a flat two-dimensional view, a 3D image allows for more understanding, better diagnoses, and more thorough planning.
Other benefits associated with a CBCT scan include:
- A great deal of accuracy when planning any kind of maxillofacial or cranial surgery, especially those involving the mandible, cheeks, or forehead.
- The ability to locate, map, and plan for structures like blood vessels and nerves prior to surgery.
- A greater chance of providing outstanding high-resolution images that could help patients avoid unnecessary surgical procedures and treatments.
- The ability for Dr Mardirossian to better understand any surgeries and procedures you’ve had done in the past, which helps when planning future surgeries and procedures.
CBCT scans allow your surgeon to better plan for your entire surgical procedure. Because of this, your surgery may take less time, which inherently reduces some of the risks associated with that surgery.
What You Should Know about Radiation
CBCT scans, like x-rays, expose you to a very small dose of radiation. Today’s technology allows for adjustments, and this means that Dr Mardirossian will use the lowest amount of radiation that will still produce a clear, useful image. The amount of radiation used to produce a CBCT scan is equivalent to two standard dental x-rays or 2 days-long exposure to daylight – a relatively small amount. The dose of radiation received during CBCT is 20-30 times less than conventional maxillofacial CT . Nonetheless, exposure to radiation has been scientifically linked to a higher risk of cancer development. Your surgeon carefully weighs the risk of radiation exposure against the advantages of the image clarity produced by a CBCT scan, and in almost every case, the advantages of the scan outweigh the disadvantages associated with exposure.
How your Surgeon Uses CBCT Scans
A CBCT scan may produce images that clearly show parts of your anatomy other than your facial bones. While Dr Mardirossian may not have the qualifications to provide a diagnosis based on the results of your scan, if any abnormalities are present that are beyond the scope of facial plastic surgery, you may be referred to a head and neck radiologist and specialist for a diagnosis and treatment. Prior to your CBCT scan, Dr Mardirossian will ask you to sign a consent form that releases his or her office from any liability that may arise from the results of that scan.