Week in Preview

November 3, 2007

In a word, RSNA.

In a word, RSNA.

CT will leave slice wars behind as vendor strategies diverge. The current 64-slice benchmark will fall to scanners offering 128 and 256 detector rows instead. But prospective customers will base future decisions on more than a (booth) number.

  • GE Healthcare (1729) demonstrates a new imaging chain to produce images with soft tissue contrast akin to that of MR.

  • Hitachi Medical Systems America (1144) prepares a 16-slice scanner called Eclos CT for the U.S. market, after obtaining FDA clearance in August.

  • Philips Medical Systems (4129) features field-upgradeable scanners and its next-generation super-premium CT with a multifocal x-ray spot.

  • Siemens Medical Solutions (7713) leverages a decade of advances into the Definition AS. The CT offers wider coverage, faster rotation, and more power and takes spatial and temporal resolution to a new level, according to the firm.

  • Toshiba Medical Systems (7130) realizes flat-panel imaging with the power of 256 detector rows, achieving whole-organ coverage in a single rotation.

MR vendors put new twists on their old ways. Clinical applications dominate, but new scanners built for patient and budgetary comfort dot the exhibit floor.

  • Esaote (3339) brings out S-SCAN, a joint and spine scanner derived from the company's G-Scan. S-SCAN includes improved electronics, new coils for lumbar and cervical spine, new pulse sequences, and a modified magnet. Unlike the G-SCAN, neither the magnet nor the patient table on S-SCAN can rotate from a horizontal to a vertical position.

  • Fonar (7753) features a new scoliosis application on the Upright scanner.

  • GE Healthcare (1729) further evolves the Signa HD x (high-definition x) platform.

  • Hitachi Medical Systems America (1144) exhibits the recently released Oasis open.

  • Hologic (7113) displays an extremity scanner supplied by Esaote.

  • ONI Medical Systems (5104) promotes its 1T extremity scanner.

  • Paramed Medical Systems (7170) showcases its U-shaped open system.

  • Philips Medical Systems strums the chord of simplicity. ??

  • Siemens Medical Solutions features its new small-footprint 3T (Verio) and 1.5T (Essenza) bolstered by a new no-contrast MR technique.

  • Toshiba Medical Systems (7130) spotlights Vantage Titan, a wide-bore 1.5T, along with angiography techniques that don't require contrast agents.

Ultrasound is defined more by what it isn't than what it is, as miniaturization takes hold. The advantages of being small will never outweigh the need for image quality. But good enough will be good enough for the specific purposes behind hand-carried units, leaving the most challenging studies to cart-based systems.

  • Aloka Ultrasound (6542) showcases the cart-based Alpha 10, the flagship in the ProSound series, as Alpha 7, cleared by the FDA in late August, awaits its turn.

  • Esaote (3339) leverages its MyLab portfolio to address demand for compact portables by upgrading its MyLab 30 to guide biopsies, assist in the placement of needles and catheters, and perform peripheral nerve blocks. In the wings is MyLab 40, emphasizing 3D/4D, intraoperative, and urologic applications.

  • GE Healthcare (1729) capitalizes on the growing interest in hand-carried systems with its laptop-sized scanners while maintaining mainstream appeal with its cart-based ones.

  • Hitachi Medical Systems America (1144) demonstrates the HI Vision series of scanners, placing the 900 at the top.

  • Medison America (2903) spotlights Accuvix V10, introduced last year with 3D/4D imaging but awaiting clearance by the FDA in the spring.

  • Philips Medical Systems (4129) features the Vision 2008 upgrade package for the iU22.

  • Siemens Medical Solutions (7713) enters the hand-carried market with palm-sized Acuson P10, shown at last year's meeting as a work-in-progress. Look also for the Sequoia Plus, cleared by the FDA in mid-October.

  • Toshiba Medical Systems (7130) upgrades the Xario XG with enhancements that cleared the FDA in late October.

  • Ultrasonix Medical (8542) spotlights the Sonix Smart Ultrasound systems.

  • Zonare Medical Systems (5305) features an enhanced z.one ultra, launched commercially in early 2007, which automatically adjusts gain and brightness and traces spectral Doppler waveform.

Nuclear Medicine jumps on the high-definition bandwagon. High-resolution PET/CTs feature better detectors, more slices, and software that cleans up artifacts.

  • Gamma Medica-Ideas (5439) showcases the LumaGem gamma camera for breast imaging.

  • GE Healthcare (1729) highlights postprocessing tools and motion correction techniques for the Discovery product line of PET/CTs.

  • Naviscan PET Systems (6920) focuses on the ability of Flex Solo II to visualize cancerous breast lesions between 1.5 mm and 2 mm.

  • Philips Medical Systems promotes its proprietary time-of-flight PET/CT, Gemini TF (TruFlight)--commercially launched last year--with a pulmonary toolkit to damp motion artifact caused by patient breathing.

  • Siemens Medical Solutionsv (7713) rebrands its PET/CTs from biograph to Biograph TruePoint, likening the result of advanced algorithms to high-definition TV.

  • Spectrum Dynamics (4977) showcases its just commercially released D-SPECT Cardiac that boasts solid-state cadmium-zinc-telluride detectors and proprietary reconstruction to cut SPECT heart scans by 75%.??

X-ray today is more about digital than film, as an aging installed base replaces worn-out systems with ones built around flat panels.

Easing the transition are advantages made possible with postprocessing algorithms, image stitching, and digital tomography that underlie volumetric reconstructions.

  • Biospace Med (5534) shows off its low-dose, high-contrast EOS x-ray system, utilizing two matched sets of x-ray tubes and digital detectors mounted orthogonally on a mobile C-arm.

  • Canon Medical Systems (3311) notes the digital radiography detectors it supplies to a multitude of end-product manufacturers.

  • Carestream Health (2513) emphasizes the DR 9500 with an x-ray tube and detector fixed to a ceiling-mounted U-arm that moves around the patient for easier positioning and increased throughput.

  • FujiFilm Medical Systems USA (1129) remolds computed radiography into digital radiography, integrating phosphor-based detectors into systems that do away with cassette toting by automatically reading and erasing plates for the next exposure.

  • GE Healthcare (1729) focuses on the Definium portfolio.

  • Imaging Dynamics (4729) demonstrates DR systems built around CCD-based detectors, framing the two-detector X220, cleared in June by the FDA.

  • Konica Minolta Medical Imaging USA (2554) promotes its line of CR products, including the single-bay Regius Nano CR, commercially released in early summer, and its flagship dual-bay Xpress CR.

  • Philips Medical Systems (4129) standardizes digital x-ray systems on the Eleva platform to simplify training and boost productivity.

  • Siemens Medical Solutions (7713) unveils the Artis zeego, a next-generation interventional system with a multiaxis C-arm and robotic technology to provide virtually unrestricted C-arm positioning.

  • Swissray International (7162) shows the ddRCompact series of digital radiography systems, cleared earlier this year by the FDA. An optimized patient positioning system and algorithms for stitching orthopedic images differentiate the new products.

  • Toshiba Medical Systems (7130) displays, as a work-in-progress, a low-contrast imaging feature for its Infinix products.