Siemens Healthineers launches the NAEOTOM Alpha, the world's first photon-counting CT scanner. As of today, the system is cleared for clinical use in the U.S. and Europe. Conventional CT imaging has reached its technical limitations: Resolution can only be improved by small margins and dose cannot be reduced significantly: Photon-counting technology enables drastic improvements. These improvements include an increase in resolution and a reduction in radiation dose by up to 45 percent for ultra-high resolution (UHR) scans compared with conventional CT detectors with a UHR comb filer. This would be impossible with conventional detectors. Photon-counting scans contain more useable data, due to the fact that photon-counting technology directly detects each X-ray photon and its energy level instead of first converting it into visible light as with conventional CT imaging.
These aspects combined open up new capabilities, such as scanning a patient's lung at a high scan speed and obtaining high-resolution images with inherent spectral information—without the patient having to hold their breath. This spectral information also helps to identify materials inside the body that can even be removed from the image should they obstruct an area of interest. This helps physicians to assess issues quickly and offers the possibility to begin treatment early. Through the reduction in radiation dose, regular examinations such as lung cancer screenings using CT imaging can become routinely available for larger patient populations. And the high resolution reveals even small structures, taking clinical decision-making to a new level of confidence. The technical complexity of photon-counting CT imaging does not mean increased complexity for the user, thanks to myExam Companion from Siemens Healthineers.
"More than 15 years ago, work on photon-counting CT and this clinical vision started at Siemens Healthineers. We always believed in the tremendous clinical value and relentlessly worked on it together with our partners," said Philipp Fischer, Head of Computed Tomography at Siemens Healthineers. "Today, with the introduction of the NAEOTOM Alpha, we are taking a huge step in furthering patient care in a wide range of clinical domains by effectively showing things impossible to see with conventional CT scans. This required a radical rethinking of practically every technological aspect of computed tomography."
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