Light And Sound: The Way Forward For Better Medical Imaging

The title says it all – “Light And Sound: The Way Forward For Better Medical Imaging”.

Imagine diagnostic imaging without radiation, this is what this post is about mates 🙂 

The first of its kind in the world, a prototype system has been developed by the University College London that uses extremely short pulses of low-energy laser light to stimulate the emission of ultrasonic acoustic waves from the tissue area being examined. These waves are then converted into high-resolution 3D images of tissue structure. 

The emission of an acoustic wave when matter absorbs light is known as the photoacoustic effect. Harnessing this basic principle, the new system makes use of the variations in the sound waves that are produced by different types of soft human tissue to identify and map features that other imaging methods cannot distinguish so well.

This method can be used to reveal disease in types of tissue that are more difficult to image using techniques based on x-rays or conventional ultrasound. The technique is completely safe and will help doctors diagnose, monitor and treat a wide range of soft-tissue conditions more effectively, it will undergo trials in clinical applications, with routine deployment in the healthcare sector envisaged within around 5 years.

I personally think that this will revolutionise the imaging profession as well as putting alot of Radiographers ‘out of their jobs’. Just build a whole body scanner with instructive user interface that allows the operator to scan the human body by segments of interest…. just a thought 🙂

Read the full story here.

About Adam Chee

Health Informatician
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One Response to Light And Sound: The Way Forward For Better Medical Imaging

  1. Douglas says:

    some points like to share:
    1. This new technology is highly depending on Photoacoustic spectroscopy, which is using laser to “shine” on the tissue which needs to be examined. But there may have “complete reflection” problem, as optic fiber, which makes laser unable to pass through the border between soft tissue and bone.Even yes, there would be too much distortion, therefore, the resolution is a factor to be consider whether it is suitable for medical diagnostic equipment or not.
    2. This equipment can be highly disturbed by the environmental “noise”, cause not as the unusual radiation, the spectrum can be found everywhere, in order to avoid, it needs to perform in a highly critical working environment. Thus the cost?
    3. It is only a temporary statement to say the laser is “harmless”, is that true? Science is something progress from its failure, like weight -lifting, if I can lift 100kg and fail to lift 120kg, my best record is 100kg then. Science is something which keeps rectifing its own error and improve the capability to visualize in more and more microscopic perception. therefore, long term effect can not be concluded yet.

    to summarize, revolutionary, yes; radiographer to lose job, I doubt so!

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