A new, handheld ultrasound (US) system, enhanced US image-processing software, new features for a positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) system, and a corporate acquisition top recent radiology news.
A new, handheld ultrasound (US) system, enhanced US
image-processing software, new features for a positron emission
tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) system, and a corporate
acquisition top recent radiology news.
New handheld US system from SonoSite
SonoSite Inc. (Bothell, WA) recently introduced its
third-generation handheld ultrasound system, the MicroMaxx (Figure
1). Designed for a range of clinical applications, the 8-lb,
laptop-sized unit used the company's proprietary Chip Fusion
Technology. According to product manager Jeremy Wiggins, "We are
able to take very complex processing algorithms that are normally
dedicated to multiple microchips or multiple circuit boards on a
larger system and merge a number of functionalities on to a single
custom ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) microchip,
or, in some cases, on to a couple chips."
In the MicroMaxx system, the 128-channel beamformer is
integrated into 4 proprietary postage-stamp-sized ASIC chips. This
broadband beamformer supports a variety of transducers for a range
of clinical applications. Transducer options include an adult
phase-array transducer for cardiac applications, a curved array
transducer for abdominal and obstetrical (OB) scanning; a linear
array transducer for imaging of the breast, small body parts, and
nerves, as well as vascular intima-media thickness (IMT)
measurement; an intracavitary transducer for OB and gynecologic
(GYN) examinations; and a transesophageal probe for transesophageal
"There are multiple software packages available, depending on
the configuration needed," noted Wiggins, "Applications include
anesthesiology, cardiology, emergency medicine, OB/GYN, preventive
cardiology, radiology, surgery, and vascular imaging."
According to the company, the MicroMaxx can power up from off to
scanning in approximately 12 seconds and can operate for up to 4
hours on battery power, depending on the use mode. A docking
station is available for recharging the battery and for Digital
Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) connectivity. "You
can also be connected without the docking station with an available
attachment," explained Wiggins. "In addition, we are looking at
wireless technology as a natural extension for our product in terms
of true mobile ultrasound. However, we do not yet have that in the
"This is our new flagship product," concluded Wiggins.
"MicroMaxx has been built on a proprietary third-generation ASIC
chip set that we can leverage in many different ways. The first
opportunity of leverage is MicroMaxx, but this is just the
beginning. This is a very expandable platform for us."
The cost of the system ranges from approximately $45,000 to
$65,000, depending on the software and transducer configurations
and includes a 5-year warranty. The company expects to begin full
commercial shipping in mid-June.
Medison introduces 3D-eXtended Imaging package
Medison America, Inc. (Cypress, CA) recently introduced the
latest imaging processing solution for the company's Accuvix XQ 3D
US scanner. The 3D-eXtended Imaging (3D-XI) package includes 3 new
imaging applications: Multi-Slice View, Oblique View, and
The Multi-Slice View application allows the 3D ultrasound images
to be displayed as serial slices (Figure 2), similar to that of
magnetic resonance (MR) or CT scans. The user is able to select the
slice thickness, from 0.5 to 3.0 mm, and the number of images to be
displayed. Unlike conventional 2D ultrasound, significant probe
manipulation is not required as the data is acquired while the
probe remains still.
The Oblique View application allows the user to view the 3D data
in various planes without limitations.
The VolumeCT View feature with Cross View and Cube Sectional
View functions enables the user to perform multiple examinations on
multiple regions of interest and visually display the relationship
of coronal, sagittal, and axial views of the 3D dataset. Each scan
plane, as well as the entire volume dataset, is interactive.
According to the company, this results in a more precise
orientation of the displayed intersecting anatomical data.
Philips adds features to Gemini PET/CT
In the field of molecular imaging, Philips Medical Systems
(Bothell, WA) unveiled several enhancements for its Gemini PET/CT
systems at the Academy of Molecular Imaging Annual Conference 2005,
March 18-23, in Orlando, FL.
These new features include a cardiac review and analysis
package, list mode acquisition and data management tools, and gated
acquisition for cardiac and respiratory applications, as well as
new DICOM connectivity features. These features are available now
on the Gemini 16 Power and will be available on the Gemini Dual
later this year.
"With the new product enhancements, Philips is reinforcing its
commitment to the advancement of the Gemini PET/CT technology for
both our existing and new customers," said Ian Farmer, Nuclear
Medicine Senior Vice President and General Manager at Philips.
"These upgrades will help customers improve workflow efficiency,
provide additional clinical applications, and facilitate better
The Gemini family of products features the company's proprietary
OpenView gantry, full 3D PET acquisition and reconstruction, and a
scan length of 190 cm for both PET and CT.
Siemens acquires CTI Molecular Imaging
Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. (Malvern, PA) and CTI
Molecular Imaging, Inc. (Knoxville, TN) have entered into a merger
agreement under which Siemens will acquire all the businesses of
CTI Molecular Imaging, including CTI PET Systems, PETNET Solutions,
CTI Mirada Solutions, CTI Molecular Technologies, and CTI Concorde
Microsystems. Following the merger, CTI Molecular Imaging will
become a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens Medical Solutions.
"This step is a natural progression in our long-time association
with CTI, and reflects Siemens' overall strategy to transform the
delivery of healthcare by developing trendsetting innovations that
improve patient care while reducing costs," said Erich Reinhardt,
PhD, President and CEO, Siemens Medical Solutions.
"Molecular medicine will result in more individualized and more
effective diagnosis and therapy," added Michael Reitermann,
President of Siemens' Nuclear Medicine Division. "CTI Molecular
Imaging has been actively engaged in next-generation molecular
diagnostics research and the development of new imaging
technologies and biomarkers. This acquisition will enable Siemens
to strengthen and broaden our capabilities in molecular imaging,
and define new standards within the industry."
"This acquisition represents the combination of two companies
that are innovation leaders. It will benefit PET imaging's
continued advancement as well as enhance the future of molecular
imaging," concluded Ronald Nutt, PhD, President and CEO of CTI
The transaction, which is valued at approximately $1 billion, is
subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions,
and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2005.