Advanced visualization offers new practice possibilities

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One of the compelling arguments for the utilization of advanced visualization imaging technology is that it can extend the capabilities of currently deployed modalities, offering practices the opportunity of expanding service lines.

A team of researchers at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., have used post-acquisition CT data processing to enable the 3D visualization of the periampullary region of the ampulla of Vater. Noninvasive evaluation of this structure using CT, conventional MRI and transabdominal sonography is often limited.

However, by using advanced visualization tools on biphasic breath-hold CT exam data, clinicians at the institution were able to generate images that provided diagnostic information about primary disorders in the periampullary region. In addition they were able to depict secondary features important for local staging and management.

They reported that they also found the technique to be valuable in providing a time-efficient method to review pertinent findings with clinicians—a practical consideration for time-starved practices.

A group of clinicians from Italy and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have recently deployed advanced visualization tools to refine CT arthrography. Generally, noninvasive arthrography studies are conducted on MRI; however, in some situations—such as patients with metallic clips or anchors from prior surgery—artifacts may limit that modality’s capabilities.

Using a dedicated workstation, reviewers created multiplanar reformatted images, including coronal and transverse reformatted images of the joints, to assist in their diagnosis of CT arthrography data. The results of their study found that CT arthrography may deliver similar sensitivity and specificity to MRI for the diagnosis and grading of repeat superior labral anterior-to-posterior (SLAP) tears in the shoulder.

Although the study cohort consisted of professional athletes, the overall results suggest that this technique could be equally useful for assisting in the diagnosis of similar shoulder injuries to aging weekend warriors.

If you or your group is interested in finding out more about the capabilities of advanced visualization technology, and how it can extend and expand the reach of diagnostic imaging service lines, head over to our Healthcare TechGuide and check out the variety of systems offered there.

Lastly, if you have a comment or report to share about how the utilization of advanced visualization technology is changing your practice, please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Batchelor, Web Editor