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Top 5 Advances that are Redefining Medical Imaging Technology

October 26, 2016 No Comments

Featured article by Jennifer Livingston, Independent Technology Author


Over the past three decades, medical imaging technology has transformed health care. Through techniques such as CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans, doctors can detect disease earlier and optimize patient outcomes. Apart from detecting a disease in its early stage, doctors can use medical imaging to establish if a therapy is effective. The technology makes invasive diagnostic procedures including exploratory surgery, cardiac catheterization, or angiography unnecessary.

Portable Ultrasound Machines

Mobile imaging equipment has redefined health care provision – from the ambulance to surgical facility, availing advanced imaging to patients in previously inaccessible or remote areas. Until recently, size and electricity requirement has hindered the proper use of ultrasound. Today, smaller ultrasound equipment can provide color-flow Doppler imaging, relying on battery power solely. This reduction in size has spread the use of ultrasound machines, bringing revolutionary imaging to health facilities, remote rural places, and disaster recovery places.

PET/CT Hybrid Technology

This technology eradicates “stop-and-go” imaging, building scans on one progressive movement of the patient table. This continuous motion enhances image quality, especially during extensive surgeries, by getting rid of motion artifacts. It also averts patient movement by lessening the nervousness that patients may feel while they are undergoing the imaging procedure.

PET/MR is also a hybrid technology that delivers highly detailed images and balances the proportion of signal and noise, which results in more reliable treatment options. It should be noted that innovation is not strictly bound to the development of new devices. Enhancements to current technology will assist in getting ideal diagnosis or treatment on time, leading to better health outcomes.

Computed Tomography (CT)

CT is perhaps one the biggest advances in imaging technology. Until recently, an analysis of blood vessels (an angiography) could be carried out by injecting a catheter into a blood vessel (artery). On the contrary, CT involves the introduction of a substance into the blood vessel through the catheter. Afterward, an X-ray of the area is taken to display internal bleeding, blockages, and other complications. The latest CT scans avail a noninvasive strategy for getting information that is more detailed about the scanned area. The entire process can take only 10 to 25 minutes.

Digital Mammography

This technology has revolutionized breast cancer screening. It provides a greater level of detail compared to other traditional techniques. Digital mammograms generate the same result to conventional mammograms that utilize film and X-rays. However, the digital technique has numerous advantages. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, digital mammograms are more efficient than traditional ones, especially when it comes to women with thick breast tissues, women nearing the menopausal age, premenopausal women, and those below 50 years. It is imperative for women to visit their doctors for a checkup on a regular basis. Breast cancer is easily managed when detected at an early stage. The medical professionals can store the images produced through digital mammography in PACS systems for future reference and monitoring patients’ response to therapy.

Open MRIs Ease Claustrophobia

Traditional MRIs have caused unpleasant experiences, in particular for people with claustrophobia. Today, there are open MR imagers – they are less restrictive and open on the sides. They are accurate like traditional ones and a bit shorter; hence, the patient is not fully enclosed. Unlike older imaging devices, new ones can accommodate even the heavy individuals. In fact, they can accommodate people who have between 350 to 400 pounds.

Advances in medical imaging technology are an amazing successful route to enhancing health care. They create new and powerful means of coming up with diagnosis and intervention. They have resulted in the expansion of clinical capability and improvement of patient care. Combining these advances with the power of digital and IT promotes greater efficiency and value in the provision of health care services.



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