Report: 3D imaging transforms the face of medical imaging

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3D imaging has become an essential tool for radiologists, as recent clinical applications using CT, MRI and other imaging modalities have revitalized radiology, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.

The report, “North American Advanced 3D/4D Visualization for Medical Imaging,” found that 3D imaging is consolidating its role in daily clinical practice among user groups other than radiologists, such as cardiologists and surgeons.

However, workflow-related concerns remain a crucial market restraint as 3D imaging needs to be properly integrated into the practice with minimal disruption to the clinical workflow in place.

“Using standalone 3D workstations implies a workflow for advanced visualization that is separate from the PACS workflow, often requiring that radiologists physically move from a workstation seat to another several times, which yields time inefficiencies in the interpretation process,” Frost & Sullivan said.

Although it integrates better in the PACS environment, the workflow incurred by advanced visualization solutions remains sub-optimal since it requires the use of two different systems that are only integrated at the application level, the firm noted.

Cardiac CT angiography, which has skyrocketed with the introduction of 64-slice CT, has been driving the adoption of advanced visualization technology since 2004. Such applications could potentially change clinical guidelines and be adopted as standard screening procedures, which will further increase their utilization. Cardiovascular MR is also a contender to CT that displays significant growth potential, according to the Frost & Sullivan report.