Several new products have recently been released into the
radiology marketplace. They include a ceiling-mounted magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) system, the first time-of-flight positron
emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system, a new
injector for vertebroplasty, and a real-time system for treatment
planning in brachytherapy treatment of prostate cancer.
Siemens and IMRIS offer ceiling-mounted MRI
Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, PA) has signed a global
original equipment manufacturer agreement with IMRIS, Inc.
(Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) permitting the incorporation of
Siemens' MAGNETOM Espree and MAGNETOM Symphony MRI systems into
IMRIS' ceiling-mounted surgical imaging system, iMotion.
The iMotion MRI is mounted on the ceiling via a track system and
can be moved between the diagnostic imaging area and the operating
room (OR), allowing the system to be used in multiple locations.
"The challenge of having an MRI system solely in the OR is that it
can be costly and may take medical facilities years to recoup their
investment," said David Graves, President, IMRIS. "By offering a
system that can be used in the OR as well as the diagnostic imaging
department, a facility can realize a significantly improved return
The MAGNETOM Espree, a 70-cm open-bore 1.5T MRI system, features
Siemen's proprietary Tim (Total imaging matrix) technology. At 1.25
meters in length, it was designed to address issues related to
obesity, claustrophobia, and elderly and pediatric patients, while
capturing high-field 1.5T quality diagnostic images. Tim technology
is based on a whole-body surface coil design that combines up to
102 integrated coil elements with up to 32 independent
radiofrequency (RF) channels. The system also features Siemens'
syngo applications, including syngo SPACE for 3-dimensional (3D)
imaging with contrasts for complex spine, head, inner ear, abdomen,
and pelvis cases; syngo SWI (susceptibility-weighted imaging) for
visualization of bleeding, contusions, shearing injuries, and
identification of minute intracranial malformations in stroke and
brain trauma patients; and syngo GRAPPA for spine imaging in small
children or patients with severe back pain.
Philips introduces time-of-flight PET/CT
Philips Medical Systems (Bothell, WA) introduced its latest
PET/CT system at the European Congress of Radiology meeting in
Vienna, Austria in March 2006. The new system, known as the GEMINI
TF, uses atomic particle time measurements to increase imaging
sensitivity in the PET component.
According to the company, GEMINI TF, the first commercially
available time-of-flight PET/CT system, more accurately tracks
gamma rays using minute time measurements. This technology raises
the effective image sensitivity by more than 2 times over
conventional PET, the company notes. The system, which features the
Philips' proprietary OpenView gantry design, can perform a
whole-body PET scan in <10 minutes, even on larger patients who
may have previously needed extended scan times (Figure). In
addition to added patient comfort, the open gantry was designed to
provide greater patient access for the administration of
radiopharmaceuticals or for access to patient monitoring
In a conventional PET system, a decaying radioactive agent is
injected into the patient. As each nucleus decays, it releases a
positron that immediately collides with an electron, releasing 2
gamma rays that travel away from the collision zone at 180º from
each other. These pairs are observed by the PET scanner, which uses
the information to calculate where the agent is concentrated, thus
creating an image of the affected area. This new system uses the
company's proprietary TruFlight technology to measure the time
difference in picoseconds (10
seconds) between the arrival of the gamma rays in the pair. This
enables the system to more accurately predict the point of origin
of the gamma ray and, therefore, provide more accurate imaging.
The GEMINI TF, which received 510(k) clearance from the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last November, is expected to
become commercially available in the United States in the second
quarter of 2006. The company plans to offer the system with either
a 16- or 64-slice CT component, with a price range of approximately
$2.7 million to $3.4 million.
Cardinal Health unveils new vertebral augmentation
Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH) introduced a new vertebral
augmentation system, the Vertebrex system, at the 31
Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Interventional
Radiology in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This cement injection
system, designed for the treatment of vertebral compression
fractures, features a new design for the cement tube, an automatic
mixing motor, and a closed system to reduce odor.
The injector barrel comes preloaded with radiopaque
polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) powder, which eliminates the need for
measuring and pouring. The system also has a computerized motor
that is designed to mix the cement inside the injector barrel and
provide a more uniform cement consistency. The closed system
design, with its enclosed glass monomer ampoule, reduces the odors
associated with cement mixing and eliminates the sharps risk
commonly associated with the use of glass ampoules.
A quick release feature on the injector provides rapid air
purging and cement priming at the start of the procedure. It can
also be used as a pressure release, if necessary. The cement tube
extends through the access cannula as a liner that is primed prior
to insertion, which allows cement to be injected into the vertebral
body at the first turn of the system, reducing the risk of
injecting a cement bolus. At the conclusion of the procedure, the
cement cannula is removed before the access cannula, leaving a
clean access cannula and reducing the risk of cement trailing out
of the vertebral body.
Varian debuts real-time brachytherapy treatment planning
Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, CA) recently introduced a
real-time brachytherapy treatment planning system designed to speed
up prostate cancer treatments and reduce the time patients spend in
the hospital. The ultrasound-based treatment planning system, known
as Vitesse 2.0, should allow clinicians to complete 2 brachytherapy
procedures per day on a patient rather than spacing treatments over
as many as 3 days.
With the new system, clinicians can develop treatment plans that
show the locations of radiation sources and dose distribution,
using ultrasound images generated in the operating room rather than
CT. "Previously, hospitals wishing to use this technique have been
hampered by the difficult logistics," explained William Hyatt,
Varian's Vice president for Oncology Systems Operations and
Brachytherapy Products. "The implant takes an hour, the patient
goes to recovery, then goes to radiology for a CT scan, then waits
for the physics staff to generate a treatment plan, and then gets
the first radiation treatment. Often, by then, it is too late to
get a second radiation dose on the same day and the patient must be
kept in the hospital overnight. With the new system, the process is
simply implantation, treatment planning during recovery, then
treating. This can save up to 2 hours in the time it takes to get
patients to their first treatment."
Clinicians can plan needle locations, monitor and adjust the
positions as the needles are inserted, identify the final needle
position in the patient, and export the dataset to the company's
BrachyVision 3D planning system in real time.