On September 30, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the world’s first photon-counting Computed Tomography (CT) scanner. Dubbed the Siemens Naeotom Alpha, the machine is a revolution in technology and represents the biggest shift in radiology in years.
Laurel Burk, Ph. D., assistant director of the Diagnostic X-ray Systems Team in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said, “Computed tomography is an important medical imaging tool that can aid in diagnosing disease, trauma, or abnormality; planning and guiding interventional or therapeutic procedures and monitoring the effectiveness of certain therapies. Today’s action represents the first major new technology for computed tomography imaging in nearly a decade and underscores the FDA’s efforts to encourage innovation in areas of scientific and diagnostic progress.”
Photon-counting detectors have the ability to measure each individual X-ray photon that passes through a patient’s body. Current CT systems use detectors that measure the total energy radiated from multiple X-rays simultaneously. This creates image noise, which is not as valuable when reading images. The new photon-counting system allows each individual X-ray to be read, which gives more specific details about the patient. The Siemens Naeotom Alpha creates a three-dimensional (3D) image.
Cynthia McCollough, Ph. D., scientific director of the Mayo Clinic CT Clinical Innovation Center, said, “The use of photon-counting detectors in CT scanners is really a reinvention of CT imaging because the X-ray detector is the secret sauce that determines the quality of an image, somewhat like how the number of megapixels in your phone camera determines the quality of your photo.” McCollough worked with Siemens to develop the new system, testing prototypes along the way.
McCollough added, “The images that we are seeing are incredible. We can appreciate structures that were simply too small to be resolved with previous detector technologies. The resolution is exquisite, there are noise benefits, and it is dual-energy plus, because you can get multiple energies from one scan.”
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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.