Valuable Diagnostic Tool: Weight-Bearing Extremity Imaging
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I was a collaborating author for a scientific paper that was presented at the 2014 Radiological Society of North America conference (RSNA) that describes 3D imaging of the foot and ankle using a dedicated extremity cone-beam CT (CBCT) scanner. The paper describes research into extremity applications for CBCT technology, which is primarily used for dental exams and a few other limited imaging applications.
Carestream has developed a prototype CBCT scanner that is currently capturing high-quality, weight-bearing images of a select group of patients at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where it is installed.
Since traditional CT systems cannot provide weight-bearing exams, our research documented the advantages of seeing the movement of bones when a patient is imaged while standing. Our research shows that these weight-bearing exams are an important tool for diagnosis and treatment of various foot and ankle conditions, including fractures that have not healed and the effects of osteoarthritis.
For patients with fractures, the two pieces of bone may look like they have healed when viewing a traditional X-ray or CT exam. However when the patient stands, physicians and radiologists can see how the bones have changed position when subjected to a patient’s weight. These images can be used to determine the best treatment for each patient.
Another important application is patients with osteoarthritis, a condition that degrades soft tissue between bones. These weight-bearing CBCT exams can help physicians determine the level of soft tissue degradation that is present so they can recommend appropriate treatment options.
Carestream OnSight 3D Extremity System received FDA 510(k) clearance in September 2016.
Ian Yorkston, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scientist, Clinical Applications Research, for Carestream. The scientific paper documenting this research was presented at the RSNA conference from 11:35am-11:45am on Sunday, Nov. 30.