Imaging Vendors Look Past Radiology

August 24, 2015

At AHRA 2015, Carestream showcased their investigational cone beam CT, but they’re not selling it to only radiologists.

Technology featured at this year’s AHRA wasn’t just for radiologists. As more medical specialties adopt imaging in their daily practice, vendors are testing the market to fit their needs.

Carestream, for example, showcased at AHRA their cone beam CT system aimed at orthopedic practices.

“Right now, we are working with some research partners to conduct clinical research of the technology; the system is currently investigational but we wanted to show the technology, and talk about the advantages of cone beam, which is specifically targeted for the orthopedic market because it images extremities,” said Helen Titus, worldwide marketing director for X-ray solutions and ultrasound, Carestream.

Cone beam CT offers a 3D rendering, similar to traditional CT, but under the patient’s weight or natural load. With a traditional CT, a volume image is rendered but loses the joint spacings and characteristics when a patient has their own weight on the joint, Titus said. Carestream’s clinical research partners are investigating how much more information weight-bearing images provide and how it this information is used in diagnosis.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"40693","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_9712470828243","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"4206","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 225px; width: 300px; float: right;","title":"Carestream CBCT","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

The patient steps into the system and the detector makes a revolution around the body part, imaging in all directions. Because just the intended body part is imaged, the patient misses out on the radiation typically delivered to the full body during a traditional CT.

The creation of imaging technology aimed outside of the radiology department was the answer to an unmet need Carestream observed in the marketplace.

“To put a CT scanner in [an orthopedic practice] is really cost prohibitive, not only for the equipment but also for the sight specifications – a room that’s modified with the appropriate power source and lead-lined,” Titus said. “Couple the cost of the equipment and the cost of the installation and it really puts [CT] out of an orthopedic’s reach.”

Cone beam CT, ultimately, improves the patient experience, Titus said. Instead of a patient having to be referred to an imaging center, which requires an additional office visit, and then a trip back to the orthopedist to review the images, patients can see their orthopedic surgeons, get the exams, and consult on the images in the same appointment, she said.

Carestream has already found added clinical value in their research of weight-bearing 3D images, for example, the ability to diagnose flat feet, which can’t be seen on a 2D image.

“Right now, they don’t know what they don’t know because they haven’t been able to see a 3D image under that condition, so it’s getting that clinical efficacy and verification,” Titus said.

Carestream expects to submit their cone beam CT for FDA approval in early 2016.

Will cone beam CT bypass the radiology department? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.