MRI, CT and PET Scans are Critical to Successful Patient Outcomes
This year, the focus of IDoR was brain imaging and radiation, which plays a critical role in diagnosing and treating brain disease and brain injuries.
When it comes to creating detailed images of a patient’s brain, radiologists frequently use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET). These images are used to diagnose various brain diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, so that doctors can then formulate the best treatment plans. They are also helpful in identifying brain infections or tumors, and they can show the effects of trauma, strokes and seizures.
Brain injuries alone count for more than 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations or deaths in the U.S. every year. MRI, CT and PET scans are critical components in helping doctors make the right decisions when treating everything from minor bumps on the head to traumatic brain injuries. Having the right scans can determine the how serious an injury is and can help doctors make informed decisions about surgeries or minimally invasive procedures.
In addition to using MRI, CT and PET scans to diagnose brain injuries or diseases, radiology is useful for actually treating some types of brain disease, such as cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 23,380 new cases of brain and other nervous system cancers are diagnosed each year. For those patients with brain cancer, about 50 percent of them are treated with radiation therapy in hopes of curing the disease.
Stereotactic radiosurgery, which focuses high-power energy on a small area of the brain, is used when the cancer affects just one – or maybe a few – parts of the brain. Other times, the entire brain is treated. This can be done if the cancer is touching many areas, or if there are concerns about it potentially spreading.
Other areas where brain imaging is important is detection and treatment of epilepsy. New advances in medical imaging technology is being implemented to pinpoint problem areas and guide removal procedures for affected tissue. The procedure has been pioneered by James Duncan at Yale University along with engineers, scientists and physicians located at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the University of Minnesota and BrainLAB, Inc. The new image-centric approach has reduced procedural time, allowing surgeons to quickly remove damaged tissue.
MRI is the most sensitive tool in detecting and analyzing Epileptic pathophysiology, especially in regards to lesional epilepsies, which commonly include hippocampal sclerosis and malformations of cortical development. Furthermore, the National Center for Biotechnology Information states, “MRI can offer the prediction of surgical outcome and may hold promise in the future for dimensional localization of seizure focus.”
MRI’s strength lies in its sensitivity, as the instrument can detect cerebral disturbances by assessing an individual’s metabolism or blood flow. Medical neuroimaging has advanced knowledge of the intricacies of brain disorders and their causes.
There is tremendous value in radiology for treating and diagnosing problems with the brain. Doctors and radiologist who are well versed in diagnostic imaging can select the right type of scan in order to obtain accurate images and minimize patient risk. Patients looking for more information about radiation therapy or MRI, CT, or PET scans are encouraged to visit RadiologyInfo.org, or contact CDI’s office with any questions.