Imaging Sci Dent.  2020 Dec;50(4):291-298. 10.5624/isd.2020.50.4.291.

Detection of different foreign bodies in the maxillofacial region with spiral computed tomography and cone-beam computed tomography: An in vitro study

  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Faculty of Dentistry, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • 2Department of Prosthodontics, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • 3Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Faculty of Dentistry, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • 4Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran


The detection and exact localization of penetrating foreign bodies are crucial for the appropriate management of patients with dentoalveolar trauma. This study compared the efficacy of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) and spiral computed tomography (CT) scans for the detection of different foreign bodies composed of 5 frequently encountered materials in 2 sizes. The effect of the location of the foreign bodies on their visibility was also analyzed.
Materials and Methods
In this in vitro study, metal, tooth, stone, glass, and plastic particles measuring 1×1×1mm and 2×2×2 mm were prepared. They were implanted in a sheep’s head in the tongue muscle, nasal cavity, and at the interface of the mandibular cortex and soft tissue. CBCT and spiral CT scans were taken and the visibility of foreign bodies was scored by 4 skilled maxillofacial radiologists who were blinded to the location and number of foreign bodies.
CT and CBCT were equally accurate in visualizing metal, stone, and tooth particles of both sizes. However, CBCT was better for detecting glass particles in the periosteum. Although both imaging modalities visualized plastic particles poorly, CT was slightly better for detecting plastic particles, especially the smaller ones.
Considering the lower patient radiation dose and cost, CBCT can be used with almost equal accuracy as CT for detecting foreign bodies of different compositions and sizes in multiple maxillofacial regions. However, CT performed better for detecting plastic particles.


Cone-Beam Computed Tomography; Tomography; Spiral Computed; Radiography; Dental; Digital; Foreign Bodies
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