Innovative advances in medical imaging technology could leave a significant impact on current clinical practices by allowing for non-invasive alternatives for the purpose of diagnosis. Imaging has transformed personal care, and therefore the practice of medicine, by avoiding expensive and unnecessary procedures.
Today the medical industry is experiencing an explosion in imaging technology. Advanced applications, innovative touch panels, and exciting breakthroughs in radiotherapy and other such techniques are driving increased research and development for technological advancements in medical imaging.
As a result, the field has evolved far beyond the one-size-fits-all approach of the past; patients can now take advantage of non-invasive, personalized care based on their size, age, weight and other unique factors.
However, advancements continue to be made. The following recent innovations are opening up new possibilities for personalized care and clinical processes:
Scientists at the University of Lincoln in the UK designed a large microchip that is meant to enhance medical imaging applications. The chip, measuring at 12.8 cm square, could aid in cancer diagnosis, enabling doctors to see the impact of radiography more precisely.
The wafer-scale chip is called ‘DynAMITe’ and it creates images which clearly portray the effects of radiation on tumors and assist physicians to detect them at an early phase. And because of its strong and innovative design, the chip can function without any issues for several years despite long-term exposure to radiation.
Touch panels and intelligent displays
The introduction of the touch panel PC and intelligent displays is allowing medical providers to provide faster and more confident diagnoses. The imaging information from these touch panel computers is forwarded as digital image data to computers and therefore can be made available to everyone in the internal network of a facility or hospital.
Modern manufacturers are also focusing on the hardware that features these technologies to make sure they meet the toughest industrial requirements when it comes to temperature, vibration and shock resistance. Some companies who create these panels and displays also offer life-long support for visualization and control applications taking into account the latest requirements of the medical imaging field.
Although the medical field relies on ultrasound imaging in a variety of instances, it is often criticized for its inability to take detailed, high-resolution images. 3-D metamaterial technology thinks it has the solution by allowing the user to achieve deep-subwavelength imaging.
Also, researchers and scientists at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain) and University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) think they can enhance the resolution of ultrasound by a 50 factor. If indeed, the metamaterial may be incorporated into existing ultrasound probes to create high-resolution images, which would drastically improve diagnosis and patient care.
Computed tomography (CT)
This is an advancing clinical imaging technology. CT scanners exploit the differing ability of tissues and organs and use it to attenuate X-ray beams which are transferred to a detector. 3-D images of the body are reconstructed from the attenuation data.
Just as a spectrum of colors makes a white light, the X-ray beam in CT scanners is created by a spectrum of X-ray energies. Some CT systems are capable of differencing X-ray photons of different levels of energy. With modern detectors, new dimensions are being integrated to CT scanning: clinicians can now see grey-scale images, and characterize structures based on their material makeup in one scan.