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MARS imaging and the arrival of 3D color X-rays

November 28, 2018
From the November 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“The key to the technology is being able to achieve much higher-resolution images than traditional modalities and simultaneously receive information about the material composition of the object,” said Butler. “In scaling the technology to wrists and ankles, the goal was to maintain that same resolution and diagnostic quality that the small system had already demonstrated.”

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There is clearly a need for new clinical imaging modalities. Since the wrist and ankle images were published, there has been a flood of requests from people for whom traditional imaging hasn’t provided the diagnostic information they need. MARS is an interesting modality as it overlaps across both CT- and MR-type imaging. It is capable of scanning both bone and soft tissue, and can also image through and around metal. This ability to image with metal is particularly important for assessing bone healing after a joint replacement, a procedure that is set to double in the next few years.

The biggest challenge now is to get the MARS imaging technology to the people who need it – clinicians and patients. There are the usual challenges of getting a product from prototype through to FDA approval.

One drawback of the MARS images is the amount of information generated with each scan. The extra information is beneficial for disease detection and diagnosis, but it can be a challenge to deal with. For the time being, the team is focusing on developing products for imaging smaller body parts like wrists or necks.

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