Cleveland Clinic: Breast tomosynthesis, melanoma scanner are ‘game changers’ for 2013

Breast tomosynthesis and a handheld optical scanner for melanoma are two imaging-related innovations that Cleveland Clinic has pegged in their top 10 list of up-and-coming technologies that will have the biggest impact on healthcare in 2013.

The FDA approved breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, in 2011. By taking dozens of images at a number of angles and combining them to make a 3D rendering, a more accurate view of the breast is produced, according to the Cleveland Clinic report “Top 10 Medical Innovations: 2013.”

“What 3D technology offers doctors and mammography technicians is a much greater opportunity to discover small cancer cells obscured by surrounding tissue that may not be visible on standard mammograms,” read the report. Cleveland Clinic noted this technology is especially important for women with dense breasts, in which tumors are harder to detect.

The melanoma scanner is an FDA-approved handheld device for use in dermatologists’ offices. The optical scanner uses imaging technology originally created by the military for guided missile navigation to examine moles and other skin lesions. The device compares imaging findings to a database of 10,000 archived images and, in less than a minute, provides an assessment to the dermatologist, according to the report. In a 13,000 patient clinical trial, the device detected 98 percent of melanomas.

Cleveland Clinic’s annual top 10 list is based on interviews with more than 110 experts with the organization. Two independent panels of physicians selected the top 10 from an initial list of 150 nominations.

Another item on the list, healthcare programs with monetary incentives, is not imaging-specific, but as payment models continue to evolve in an effort to curb costs, radiology will be affected.

The other items on the list were:

  • Bariatric surgery for control of diabetes;
  • Neuromodulation therapy for cluster and migraine headaches;
  • Mass spectrometry for bacterial identification;
  • Novel medications for advanced prostate cancer;
  • Femtosecond laser cataract surgery; and
  • Modular device for treating complex aneurysms.