Medical imaging has tremendously evolved, integrating new technologies to diagnose different diseases, clinical examinations, and other investigations. The objective is not only to diagnose diseases but also to treat them better.
The world of medical imaging is constantly evolving. Techniques are being developed to locate foci of infection, target them and activate the active ingredients of drugs only at the desired location. It is essential to encourage this progress since it is developing in all areas of medicine!
The idea here is to make an overall point: where do we stand in 2022?
What is Medical Imaging?
Let’s start with a simple definition: medical imaging is a medical specialty that produces images of the human body and interprets them for diagnostic or therapeutic (interventional imaging) purposes or monitoring the evolution of pathologies.
Medical Imaging made its appearance with the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Röntgen (German physicist) in 1896. Since then, medical imaging has continued to evolve, improve and offer increasingly precise, efficient, and innovative technologies. The progress of medical imaging is essential because, thanks to it, we can quickly diagnose diseases and thus adapt treatments in real-time.
Medical Imaging: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Brain
Brain imaging (also known as neuro-imaging) refers to all the techniques derived from medical imaging that make it possible to observe the brain, particularly when an individual performs a cognitive task. Thanks to the various imaging techniques, the brain has now become transparent!
Brain imaging faces many challenges:
● visualize the different cerebral structures,
● Observe their operation and their interactions,
● Study the anatomy of the brain and everything that can disturb it (tumour, haemorrhage, pathological deformation, etc.)
The CT scan and the MRI are the two main examinations for analysing the brain.’
The scanner uses X-rays to produce a series of x-rays taken in sections and then combined by computer. The patient can be injected intravenously with contrast products such as iodine to improve the rendering of images (of tumours, for example).
MRI uses the magnetic fields and properties of water molecules in the brain. This examination is longer but more precise than the scanner.
Neuroimaging, like medical imaging, is evolving very rapidly. We have recently observed the brain in 3D and thus offer a diagnosis of exceptional precision. The three-dimensional image makes it easy to visualize the deep cortical and sulcal anatomy and arrive at a true metric of the brain. It is even possible to see and measure brain activity and maturation changes during mental disorders.
3T Quantitative MRI and Spectral CT
Let’s take concrete and current examples of 3T Quantitative MRI and Spectral CT, two new revolutionary technologies facilitating early disease detection with ultra-low radiation dose scanner or no dose in the case of MRI. The emergence of screening procedures by a low-dose scanner guarantees a significant reduction in mortality.
A standard scanner uses a high radiation dose to take a detailed image. The idea is to find less dangerous ways but still get an accurate result. A Spectral CT is a low-dose scanner that uses as low radiation as possible and can create the highest quality images in minutes.
A 3T MRI makes it possible to increase the intensity of the magnetic field, which leads to a proportional increase in the signal-to-noise ratio and therefore allows an increase in the MRI signal.
This signal increase can be exploited in different ways and have several advantages: for example, shortening the examination time with a signal equivalent to that of a standard magnetic field; for the same duration of the examination, allowing to choose more spatial resolution to refine the analysis of small structures or anomalies; or even explore a dynamic phenomenon, for example, cerebral vascularization, under better conditions.
A radiology clinic on the Gold Coast offering medical imaging through these revolutionary technologies contributes to developing the medical device ecosystem, oriented imaging, in its equipment and digital health dimension. The objective is to provide patients with the latest technological advances according to their needs. Such institutions intend to maintain their position as a forerunner in imaging at the service of patients.
Advanced Technology, Improved Comfort
The latest MRI is equipped with a signal digitization technique in the antenna to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio as closely as possible. The machine is designed to improve patient comfort thanks to the 70 cm diameter tunnel.
It is also equipped with the latest-generation digital platform to accommodate expected future developments in MRI. Compressed Sense technology allows for faster exam time while optimizing image quality.
Finally, the commissioning of this 3rd MRI will further shorten appointment times, particularly in oncology and neurology.
A skilled team of secretaries, technicians and radiologists trained in this new technology guarantees the objective of specialty and quality at each stage.
3T MRI Detects Lesions Better
3T MRI can better detect certain lesions. Its favourite field is brain and prostate imaging and the study of small joints.
Concerning cerebral imaging, 3T MRI increases the sensitivity of detecting small acute ischemic lesions, particularly in patients referred for transient ischemic attack (cerebrovascular accident), thanks to the diffusion sequence, whose signal and resolution are increased.
The improvement in spatial resolution applies to the morphological exploration of the hippocampi in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, the detection of small multiple sclerosis lesions or metastases, and the detailed study of the cortex in epilepsies.
The increase in the magnetic susceptibility effect at higher fields improves the detection of haemorrhages and is also used in perfusion imaging (tumours) and functional MRI (BOLD). The T1 lengthening leads to a better saturation of the static tissues and consequently an increase in the blood/tissue contrast in the AngioMRI.
The increased chemical shift effect contributes to better fat saturation and improved spectral resolution of the spectroscopy sequence (tumour pathology).
The perfusion sequence by arterial spin labelling (ASL) studying cerebral perfusion without injection finds its complete application at 3T in vascular pathology, characterization and post-therapeutic follow-up of tumour lesions, dementia and specific psychiatric pathologies.
Concerning the prostate, the power of the field will make it possible to overcome the majority of indications for the use of an endorectal coil.
Thus, medical imaging communicates with the brain, and new technologies have improved it. Knowing about major developments and encouraging them makes it possible to adapt to the needs of the medical profession and patients.