Hubble Space Observatory and Radiology Associates
Over the years space science has crossed paths with and benefited medical science.South Texans are receiving some
of the benefits of this science at the Nuclear Medicine Department of Radiology Associates.
When $1.8 billion Hubble launched, the excitement as a tool to probe space was immeasurable. A fabrication error in a
primary mirror was not caught prior to launch and the initial images turned excitement into let down. Through the persistence of engineers and collaborative efforts, Hubble's expected magnificence was realized and the initial excitement returned as images went from blurry to crisp.
The math, applied to space images to remove "noise" allowing spectacular images of constellations such as The Butterfly Nebula, is being applied to nuclear medicine images through the use of newly acquired camera systems. As with space images "noise" degrades the quality of the nuclear medicine image. The advantage for patients is less time required to make "crisp" images.
Many South Texans battling cancer, suffering from bone pain, or fighting bone infection may be familiar with a nuclear medicine exam known as bone scanning. During this exam the patient receives a radiotracer that is taken up by bone. The radiotracer emits high energy light which is invisible to the eye but can be captured with a nuclear medicine camera.
"Processing" is performed on the captured light to yield an interpretable image. The quality of the image is dependent on many variables which eliminate "noise" in the image. One could compare to a photograph taken with too little light resulting in a fuzzy picture.
The new nuclear medicine camera systems have "processing" capabilities as is applied to space images. This capability decreases the effect of "noise" on the image requiring less time necessary to complete a bone scan. In some instances the time for a bone scan is cut in half resulting in a patient lying still for 8-10 minutes instead of twenty plus.
Half-Time Imaging leads to shorter imaging times and greater patient comfort while continuing to provide exceptional image quality expected from Radiology Associates Nuclear Medicine Department. In the words of Buzz Lightyear, to infinity and beyond!
In the words of Buzz Lightyear, to infinity and beyond!