X-Ray and Computer Tomography scan, or CT scan, are brilliant technologies that let doctors dig inside what’s inside of you without putting you under the knife. The medical community has been relying it for years and while useful, medical professionals have been putting up with the incoherent-to-layman black and white images. Well, that is set to change with New Zealand-based tech company Mars Bioimaging’s new medical imaging scanner called Spectral CT.
This new groundbreaking technology borrowed technology originally developed for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, a chip called Medipix3, to produce scans that are not only more detailed but also in colors. The resulting scans are a sight to behold (or turn out to be freaky to some). Unlike traditional black-and-white CT scan, Mars is able to separate the different materials, detailing stuff like metal, soft tissue, fat and bone, and in three dimension, thus letting doctors into more details than ever before. Here’s how traditional CT scans work:
“A CT scan makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images of specific areas of a scanned object.”
The X-rays beam passes through a body part and the intensity is measured on the opposite side. The beam passes easy on soft elements like tissue, but in denser materials like bone, the beam is attenuated and the difference between the bones and softer materials like tissue allow the computer to generate an image of the bone. When done through a cycle of multiple angles, the computer combines them to form a 3D image, albeit with limited information and in monochrome.
Here’s how Spectral CT differs:
With Spectral CT, it can measure the attenuation of specific wavelengths of the beam that passes through different materials. As such, it is able to pick up discern the different materials which result in more details. The data is then processed by specific algorithms to generate a 3D color image that details everything from the muscle to the water to the fat, and even disease markers. Incredibly, even the details of a watch worn by the patient can be clearly seen, right down to the movement and the strap’s linkages.
What Spectral CT is no doubt a major breakthrough in medical technology. The resulting 3D image is as good as a medical 3D model which you see practically everything. While this technology primary lets doctors peek into the bones, it is, more importantly, a technology that allows for medical professionals to spot cancer and even pick up early markers for vascular diseases. Now that, my friends, is an innovation that every humans can benefit from.
According to our source, smaller test versions are already being use to study cancer and even more exciting is, Spectral CT scanner has past research stages with clinical trials are expected to commence in New Zealand over the next few months. After that, all that’s left is getting the necessary clearances and approvals so it could be deployed in hospitals and start saving lives.
Images: Mars Bioimaging.