Weight-Bearing CT Study Group Offers Potential for Better Care
Advances in extremity imaging may benefit adults with active lifestyles.
Over the years I have been to a few hundred trade shows and conferences, and the recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) ranks among the best experiences I have had at these events.
I saw firsthand why this conference is the preeminent think tank of orthopaedic surgeons, orthopaedic care providers and medical equipment suppliers. Additionally, I found it immensely informative in my personal quest to find answers to questions involving my own persistent injuries resulting from too much tennis and too little youth. For those who may be in a similar situation that comes with leading an active life, you may want to put this conference on your calendar!
While at AAOS, I attended a meeting of the Weight-Bearing CT International Study Group which is comprised of representatives from relevant international surgical and radiology foot and ankle societies. The Weight-Bearing CT (WBCT) International Study Group promotes dialogue and collaboration on weight-bearing CT research initiatives, and is working to create standardized protocols for WBCT measurements and analysis. Its members are dedicated to enhancing diagnosis and understanding of weight-bearing foot and ankle conditions. The focus of the group is to:
- Promote and improve research using 3D radiographic imaging with WBCT
- Standardize the methodology regarding measurement methods
- Serve as a platform of communication for foot and ankle surgeons, and to inform them of educational events; and
- Offer guidelines and reviews regarding the indications and use of WBCT at an international level.
- The group is completely independent from the industry but is sponsored by manufacturers of WBCT devices including Carestream Health.
Weight-bearing CT images beneficial for comparative diagnosis
3D weight-bearing computed tomography based on cone beam technology is perhaps one of the most exciting developments in foot and ankle radiographic imaging. I found of particular interest the remarks by Dr. Martin O’Malley focusing on the value of weight-bearing images for use in comparative diagnosis as it relates to injuries suffered during sports or other physical activities. In addition to being the team physician for the Brooklyn Nets, USA Basketball and Iona College Athletics, Dr. O’Malley is also the foot and ankle consultant for the New York Giants and New York City Ballet. He possesses an impressive knowledge of injuries, high ankle sprains, fractures and other complex problems of the feet and ankles.
Dr. O’Malley discussed how correlating weight-bearing views with other diagnostic imaging exams is valuable in determining a better treatment path for his patients and that having the means to capture weight-bearing extremity images has led to improved patient care. The ability to apply various levels of stress to the area of the body being imaged while weight-bearing allows him to get a more accurate assessment of a patient’s stability and progress. Whether the patient is a professional dancer, famous athlete, college standout or someone with an active lifestyle, weight-bearing images (when correlated with other diagnostic image views) can provide a better overall picture of the patient’s injuries, issues and healing.
Carestream is an early leader in developing medical imaging technology for sports injuries and orthopaedic care. Several NFL teams—including the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers—have adopted the latest digital X-ray systems for use in their stadiums.
It is this expertise that led Carestream to develop an extremity imaging cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) system. In addition to performing 3D exams of upper extremities, the system enables weight-bearing exams of knees, ankles, feet and toes—enabling physicians to view these body parts under natural load. The CBCT system provides pristine 3D images at the point of care, and features a small door that allows patients to easily step into the system’s bore. These weight-bearing image studies are not possible with traditional CT.
As I walked through the AAOS exhibit hall, I was impressed by the number of physicians, specialists and manufacturers that are working tirelessly to improve the many aspects of providing orthopaedic care to a broad spectrum of patients. What medical imaging companies offer may not improve my tennis game, but I am confident that my chances of playing well into my autumn years will increase because of their contributions. Those of us who incur injuries to our extremities stand to benefit from new technologies that can significantly enhance our quality of life. Game on!
Hear Dr. Mika Kortesniemi of HUS Medical Imaging Center discuss his research on evolving multi-slice CT technology for extremity imaging, including metal artifact reduction.
Listen to Dr. Mikael Ploug Boesen of Copenhagen University Hospital explain the complementary roles of weight-bearing cone beam technology for imaging bones and and MRI for soft tissue.
#extremityimaging #AAOS #WBCT