Best of RSNA 2010: Philips' PET-MR, mammo workflow gadgets and virtual autopsies

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | December 06, 2010
Prof. Zahi Fayad of
Mt. Sinai is happy
about Philips'
Ingenuity TF PET-MR
(Image courtesy
Philips Healthcare)
The Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting at McCormick Place in Chicago is one of the biggest medical shows in the world. For those who couldn't attend - or who did attend but couldn't see it all - DOTmed presents, hall by hall, some of the most exciting gadgets, devices and applications. Welcome to North Hall.

Philips Healthcare: PET-MR and digital broadband MRIs

By far the thickest crowds in Philips Healthcare's block-long booth at RSNA 2010 could be found mobbed around the Ingenuity TF PET-MR. The new modality, making its official debut at this year's conference, was housed in its own glass showroom, like any new-model car at the Chicago auto show. The unit features a rotating turntable letting patients connect with the separate MRI and PET scanners.

This was one of two PET-MRs on the floor (Siemens had the other one. Look for more about that tomorrow). Radiologists who spoke with DOTmed News said PET-MR could be superior to PET-CT in visualizing certain cancers, such as basal skull tumors and superior sulcus tumors of the lung, but more research is needed.

So far, there are only three units installed at test sites, with a fourth on the way to the University of Ohio.

PET-MR research image
showing breast cancer
(Image courtesy Philips Healthcare)

The device is still awaiting 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Plus, reimbursement issues still have to be sorted out. Philips expects most sites will use it part of the time for straight MRI scans and part of the time for research.

The equipment also costs a pretty penny - about $4.5 million, Philips said. Still, the company said they've already received 12 orders.

Also, on the MRI front, Philips introduced its Ingenia 1.5T and 3T with digital broadband, allowing direct conversion on the coils for the first time, the company said.

Philips says the device, which researchers began working on eight years ago, results in a 40 percent better signal-to-noise ratio and faster scanning times. Scanning takes around 8 minutes for a liver, versus 20 minutes from other magnets, the company said. Philips also hopes that the device will allow for cheaper upgrades over the 8-10 year life of the system, as it does away with the external spectrometer cabinet.