por Lisa Chamoff
, Contributing Reporter | July 22, 2014
From the July 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
“You can biopsy the prostate in a way where you’re targeting the areas where you’re more likely to find something significant,” Lumerman says. “We’re detecting the prostate cancer more readily. This is a substitute for doing these random incidental biopsies.”
Lumerman and his group have done more than 50 biopsies using the technology since the beginning of the year and almost all the doctors in his group are routinely using it.
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“This is the future,” Lumerman says. “The advantage of this is once you find this cancer, you know in three dimensions exactly where it is. You can target treatment. Now that you know where it is, you may be able to treat just that area. And all the side effects may go away because you’re only treating this area.”
In May, Esaote received FDA clearance to market and sell its Virtual Navigator ultrasound fusion imaging software. The software fuses real-time ultrasound images with MR, CT or PET.
Tomo Hasegawa, head of the ultrasound division for Toshiba, says the company is seeing a lot of activity in ultrasound purchasing specifically for biopsy. The company offers Smart Fusion, which syncs previously acquired CT and MR images with live ultrasound side by side, on its premier ultrasound system, the Aplio 500.
“Even though Medicare is backing off on codes for ultrasound-guided procedures, it’s still a growth area,” says Hasegawa, who mostly sees the technology used for liver biopsy.
Elastography — used to measure tissue stiffness to help physicians distinguish stiffer tissue indicative of malignant tumors from softer, healthy surrounding tissues — is another emerging ultrasound technology.
“You’ll find some people who actually swear by it and others who won’t touch it,” says Esaote’s Murphy. “It’s likely that elastography could replace prostate biopsy.”
Ultrasound also continues to make its way into breast imaging. Last year, GE Healthcare introduced the Invenia Automated Breast Ultrasound System, used to detect cancer in women with dense breasts, and is the only manufacturer with an ultrasound system that is FDA approved for breast cancer screening. The Invenia ABUS features new automated compression tools for enhanced workflow and ergonomics and reverse curve transducer that lets providers get images in less time, compared to previous versions of the technology, according to the company.
What Hasegawa and those at Toshiba are really excited about is a technology that provides the capability of imaging microvascular flow with superior detail and definition. The company provided a preview of the technology at last year’s RSNA, and they plan to bring it to the marketplace by early July. Such visualization can only be done through MR or CT with contrast agents.