H Ringl, M Lazar, M Töpker, R Woitek, H Prosch, U Asenbaum, C Balassy, D Toth, M Weber, S Hajdu, G Soza, A Wimmer, T Mang
OBJECTIVE: To assess a radiologist's detection rate of rib fractures in trauma CT when reading curved planar reformats (CPRs) of the ribs compared to reading standard MPRs. METHODS: Two hundred and twenty trauma CTs (146 males, 74 females) were retrospectively subjected to a software algorithm to generate CPRs of the ribs. Patients were split into two equal groups. Sixteen patients were excluded due to insufficient segmentation, leaving 107 patients in group A and 97 patients in group B. Two radiologists independently evaluated group A using CPRs and group B using standard MPRs. Two different radiologists reviewed both groups with the inverse methods setting. Results were compared to a standard of reference created by two senior radiologists. RESULTS: The reference standard identified 361 rib fractures in 61 patients. Reading CPRs showed a significantly higher overall sensitivity (P < 0.001) for fracture detection than reading standard MPRs, with 80.9% (584/722) and 71.5% (516/722), respectively. Mean reading time was significantly shorter for CPRs (31.3 s) compared to standard MPRs (60.7 s; P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Using CPRs for the detection of rib fractures accelerates the reading of trauma patient chest CTs, while offering an increased overall sensitivity compared to conventional standard MPRs. KEY POINTS: • In major blunt trauma, rib fractures are diagnosed with Computed Tomography. • Image processing can unfold all ribs into a single plane. • Unfolded ribs can be read twice as fast as axial images. • Unfolding the ribs allows a more accurate diagnosis of rib fractures.