AW Delivers Advanced MR Imaging

Over the last decade, GE Healthcare’s Advantage Workstation (AW) has proven its utility as a multi-modality post-processing powerhorse. GE extends the value of the workstation with a comprehensive software portfolio to the meet the needs of multiple modalities.

Take for example Volume Viewer. The software facilitates a host of advanced CT and MR applications to support review of angiography and comparisons of studies. GE complements Volume Viewer with FuncTool, advanced visualization software fine-tuned to the specific and unique needs of MR post-processing. Like the Volume Viewer software, GE’s FuncTool software resides on AW and can be launched with one click. 

For nearly a decade, New Jersey Neuroscience Institute in Edison, N.J., has relied on AW and FuncTool as the cornerstone of its advanced MR post-processing program. Clinical applications are widespread and evolving. “GE’s FuncTool application is used for advanced processing of 3D datasets for multiple MR applications including brain perfusion studies, spectroscopy and diffusion tensor imaging,” explains Larry Tanenbaum, section chief MRI, CT and neuroradiology.

Integral imaging

Tanenbaum describes GE’s AW workstation and FuncTool software as essential to the practice’s MR caseload. “FuncTool is completely integrated into the clinical process at New Jersey Neuroscience Institute. We would not be able to complete functional, perfusion or diffusion tensor imaging without this software,” says Tanenbaum.

The software delivers significant clinical and workflow benefits. FuncTool streamlines dynamic MR imaging by facilitating analysis of time/intensity changes, enabling users to analyze and detect minute time/intensity changes and complete contrast uptake studies. FuncTool features eight algorithms to analyze changes over time in the dynamic data set. The algorithms can be used to analyze parameters such as the signal effects associated with the first pass of a bolus of contrast, time of enhancement and rate of enhancement. Results can be displayed in a variety of formats including simple graphical formats, parametric image formats or parametric image formats overlaid onto source MR images. The software also incorporates color DICOM and color DICOM networking.

Although the software incorporates specialized, advanced functionality it does not sacrifice another key element in the user experience. User-friendliness is key to the success of any advanced visualization package, says Tanenbaum. “The most important consideration perspective users should consider when evaluating 3D workstations and software is the degree of user-friendliness. Users should try to get their hands on the device and determine how easy it is to learn and use the system,” advises Tanenbaum.

FuncTool provides a streamlined user interface by dividing the screen into four quadrants that concurrently display the unprocessed source images, time-intensity data, user-specified processing results and an overlay of the processing results with a user-specified anatomic range.

Another component in the user-friendly equation is image management. FuncTool is fully integrated into the image management processes at New Jersey Neuroscience Institute. “I can freely move into FuncTool features on AW from scans acquired on both onsite and offsite MR scanners. In addition, images are easily stored for distribution and later review on the practice’s PACS.”

Tanenbaum recommends sites evaluating new advanced visualization solutions also consider the breadth and sophistication of available applications. “The AW and FuncTool are moving targets. As imaging and post-processing grow more sophisticated GE solutions not only keep pace with clinical and practice needs but also lead the way with new features that extends their value,” notes Tanenbaum. Partnering with a vendor that provides a wide portfolio of advanced visualization, imaging modality and image management solutions can help ensure the success and future growth of a practice’s 3D program.

GE Healthcare fits the bill with solutions such as AW VolumeShare2 and Centricity AW Suite 2.0. What’s more, as a comprehensive provider GE can blur distinctions between various product lines to create a richer, more complete solution. Centricity AW Suite 2.0, for example, weds conventional PACS functionality with advanced 3D features for a complete 2D/3D image management and post-processing solution to better meet the needs of the end user community.