MAYWOOD, Ill. – AuntMinnie.com, the respected medical imaging website, has compiled a list of the “hottest clinical procedures” in imaging, such as molecular breast imaging and PET scans for Alzheimer’s disease. Every one of these new imaging techniques already is offered at Loyola University Health System, or will be soon.
“These leading-edge imaging technologies will improve patient care by enabling physicians to detect and characterize abnormalities at the earliest possible stages,” said Scott Mirowitz, MD, chair of Loyola’s Department of Radiology. “The techniques also will give physicians better insight into whether, for example, a cancer has spread, and how effective a treatment has been."
The hot new imaging technologies include:
Molecular Breast Imaging. A short-lived radioactive tracer is injected into the patient. If any tumor cells are present, they absorb the tracer and light up the image. Molecular breast imaging supplements rather than replaces mammograms.
PET Scans for Alzheimer’s Disease. A tracer called Amyvid binds to and lights up amyloid plaques, a key characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. This can help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in patients whose symptoms are not clear-cut.
Carotid CT Angiography. Loyola soon will install a new ultrafast, 128-slice CT scanner that can detect the buildup of plaque in carotid arteries, a major risk factor for strokes. The technology also can detect plaque in the vessels supplying blood to the heart. A CT angiogram is less invasive than a standard angiogram in which dye is injected into a patient and a catheter is guided through blood vessels.
CT Screening for Lung Cancer. CT is more effective than chest X-rays in detecting lung tumors at early stages. A draft statement from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends CT screening for current or former smokers who have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years. Loyola plans to launch a screening program for eligible patients.
Virtual Colonoscopy. A CT scan looks for cancer, polyps or other disease in the large intestine. This is less invasive than a regular colonoscopy, in which a long, lighted tool called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and large intestine.
PET/MRI Fusion. Scans from PET and MRI machines are fused on a computer, creating an image that combines the advantages of both technologies. For example, MRI provides exquisite anatomical detail, while PET shows cellular abnormalities.
MRI/Ultrasound Fusion. Results of these separate tests are fused on a computer to provide precise localization of small lesions identified on MRI for biopsy under ultrasound guidance.
Breast Tomosynthesis (3-D mammogram). This enables the radiologist to view an abnormality from different angles and perspectives. This is especially useful in dense breast tissue that can disguise lesions.
Whole Breast Ultrasound. This could be used in addition to mammograms in women with dense breasts or in women who do not want to be exposed to radiation.
AuntMinnie.com is a respected and comprehensive website for radiologists and other medical imaging professionals.
The term "Aunt Minnie" is believed to have been coined in the 1940s by a University of Cincinnati radiologist who used it to describe "a case with radiologic findings so specific and compelling that no realistic differential diagnosis exists." In other words: If it looks like your Aunt Minnie, then it's your Aunt Minnie.
The Department of Radiology at Loyola University Health System and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is a fully integrated academic and clinical department. The department has a strong tradition of excellence in clinical care, teaching and research. Its faculty members are noted locally, nationally and internationally for their clinical competence, innovative diagnostic/therapeutic methods and academic excellence.