DOI: 10.25259/jcis_64_2023 ISSN: 2156-5597

3D wrist imaging – Is it time for superman to retire?

Svea Deppe Mørup, Bo Mussmann, Malene Roland Vils Pedersen, Lykke Moseholm Rasumssen, Katrine Gaarde, Janni Jensen
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Computed tomography (CT) of the wrist may be challenged, due to patients’ inability to extend the arm for a “Superman pose” resulting in increased radiation dose due to scatter. Alternative positions and less dose administering modalities such as 3D Cone-beam CT (CBCT) and single-shot CT could be considered. This phantom study aimed to estimate scatter radiation dose in different phantom positions using helical and single-shot CT and 3D CBCT.

Material and Methods:

Wireless electronic dosimeters attached to the head and chest of an anthropomorphic phantom in various clinically relevant positions were used to measure scatter radiation. In helical CT, the following positions were used: Superman pose, semi-superman pose, wrist on the abdomen, and single-shot CT with the patient sitting in front of and behind the gantry. In 3D CBCT, the phantom was in a supine position with the arm extended laterally.


Helical CT using the Superman pose resulted in a total scattered radiation dose of 64.8 µGy. The highest total dose (269.7 µGy) was obtained with the wrist positioned on the abdomen while the lowest total dose was achieved in single-shot CT with the phantom sitting behind the gantry with the forearm placed inside the gantry (3.2 µGy). The total dose in 3D CBCT was 171.1 µGy.


The commonly used semi-superman and wrist-on-abdomen positions in CT administer the highest scattered doses and should be avoided when either single-shot CT or 3D CBCT is available. Radiographers should carefully consider alternatives when a patient referred for wrist CT cannot comply with the Superman position.

More from our Archive