New CT scanner designs break the surface at RSNA

Prototype systems offer a glimpse of tomorrow's CT marketplace

Prototype systems offer a glimpse of tomorrow's CT marketplace

While in the past, vendors focused on increasing the number of rows in a scanner to improve performance, now they are focusing on making new clinical applications possible and developing novel designs, some of which are already available or coming soon to the market. Here are some highlights of new prototypes in the works by vendors.

Vendor: Siemens (Somatom Definition)

Method: Dual source and dual energy

Scanner design: Two x-ray sources mounted onto a single rotating gantry at 90 degrees angles. One detector covers entire scan field-of-view of 50 cm, and the other has a smaller central FOV of 26 cm. Scanning can be performed with one tube or two tubes at different energy levels.

Research sites: New York University; Mayo Clinic; William Beaumont Hospital; Cleveland Clinic; University of California, Los Angeles

Availability: Released commercially in 2005. As of September 2006, 18 scanners were installed worldwide, including eight in the U.S.

Vendor: GE Healthcare

Method: Dual energy

Scanner design: Separate acquisitions are taken at two energy levels on single-tube high-end CT system.

Research site: Kael University, Tokyo

Availability: Pending FDA clearance, scanner with dual-energy capabilities could become commercially available as early as RSNA 2006.

Vendor: Philips

Method: Simultaneous multi-energy detector CT

Scanner design: Detector is composed of layers designed to simultaneously detect low-energy (soft) and high-energy (hard) x-rays. Combining the images from both layers results in a CT image with the full energy of the beam.

Research sites: Hadassah Medical Organization, Jerusalem

Availability: In research stages, clinical experience with 300 cases to be presented at RSNA 2006, pending acceptance as scientific paper.

Vendor: Toshiba

Method: Wide area detector CT

Scanner design: 256-row scanner enables large organ perfusion studies in a single rotation.

Research sites: Fujita Health University School of Medicine, Tokyo

Availability: Could reach the market in two to three years.

Vendor: Prototype uses components of x-ray system from NovaRay of Los Gatos, CA. Research supported in part by GE.

Method: Inverse geometry CT (IGCT)

Scanner design: Many sources separated from each other and a much smaller detector array.

Research site: Stanford University

Availability: In research stages, time to market estimated at five to 10 years.