In addition to improved imaging, the latest in diagnostic technology provides surgeons the ability to integrate high-resolution images into a simulator to create three-dimensional layouts of a particular condition, such as an aneurysm.
“We can simulate our procedure ahead of time using CT-based software before we ever even touch the patient,” Rundback says. “We ultimately optimize our selection of devices and develop an even more precise treatment plan, and all while enhancing the level of safety and improving the outcomes for our patient.”
Rundback notes that Cone Beam CT allows surgeons to treat tumors in a much more targeted and selective way, and has improved the results from procedures such as angioplasty.
“The advances in nuclear medicine have also been revolutionary,” he adds.
Radiologists can also use a SPECT scanner to take two different types of scans and fuse the images together to provide more precise information about how different parts of the body function, allowing the more conclusive identification of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or identifying the development of a tumor.
“Part of the problem we always had was knowing whether or not we were precisely delivering the beams into a tumor with the level of radiation that would prove most effective,” Rundback says, “but with the use of Cone Beam and SPECT, we can better ensure the ideal localization of treatment and improve tumor response.”
Meanwhile, local hospitals are working with manufacturing partners to make strides in reducing the amount of radiation exposure for patients, and the technology has continued to improve with smaller dosages of radiation.
“The anxiety people once had about diagnostic imaging is probably no longer much of a concern,” Pierce says. Doctors now have access to high-resolution images with machines, including CT scan, MRI and PET scan, allowing for better detection of hard-to-detect conditions.