Medical and scientific directors at the Mayo Clinic’s CT Clinical Innovation Centre in Rochester, US, are celebrating the breakthrough in image quality for CT made possible by photon counting detectors this week.
Describing their first cardiac scan to be carried out using photon counting imaging technology, Dr Cynthia McCollough spoke for the team she heads with Centre co-founder Dr Joel G Fletcher, “The use of photon-counting detectors in CT scanners is really a reinvention of CT imaging because the X-ray detector is the secret sauce that determines the quality of an image, somewhat like how the number of megapixels in your phone camera determines the quality of your photo.” Explaining the clarity of what was visible during the scan, she continued, “the images that we are seeing are incredible. We can appreciate structures that were simply too small to be resolved with previous detector technologies.”
The CT Clinical Innovation Centre was established by Drs Fletcher and McCollough in 2004 and has been committed to discovering how photon counting detector CT might benefit patients, with the known advantages of the technology being smaller detector pixels for higher resolution images, no electronic noise meaning image quality improvement, and impressive image contrast quality.
“This type of advance in an imaging modality only comes along every couple of decades,” Dr. Fletcher said, referring to spiral CT, multi detector-row CT and dual-energy CT as earlier landmarks in the development of CT imaging. “It’s a special time in all of our careers when we have these paradigm-shifting technical advances.”