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CurveBeam Shares Some Key Takeaways from the 2017 RSNA Annual Meeting

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CurveBeam recently had the pleasure of attending and participating in the 103rd Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), held in Chicago from November 26 to December 1. The RSNA Annual Meeting is a unique opportunity for attendees from around the world to gather and meet with thought leaders and innovators to learn about the latest advances in imaging. Post-event, we wanted to share our experiences including some key takeaways.

Rising Injuries in Youth Sports
Diego Jaramillo, MD, MPH, from Miami Children’s Hospital in Miami, delivered a presentation titled “The Perfect Storm for Athletic Injuries: Youth, Growth, and Hormones”. Dr. Jaramillo shared how childhood sports have become increasingly intense and competitive. As young athletes dedicate more time and energy to one specific sport and even specialize in specific functions within that sport, the type of injuries, particularly repetitive injuries, are intensifying. Increased bone porosity of a young skeleton coupled with an increase in muscle strength can stress a skeleton and predispose it to damage. Puberty, including the hormonal influences on the growth plate, also increases the vulnerability of the skeleton to injury. Following x-rays, most young athletes are diagnosed using CT, especially for injuries that involve the head or that are primarily osseous such as the triplane fracture.

Effect of Weight Loss on Knee Cartilage Degeneration
Alexandra S. Gersing, MD, from the University of California, San Francisco, shared the results of a study on “How Weight is Lost Can Slow Knee Cartilage Degeneration”. The study examined which types of weight loss are most beneficial for patients who need to lose a significant amount of weight to slow the progression of knee cartilage degeneration. The study looked at 760 male and female patients with a body mass index greater than 25 who were enrolled in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), a U.S.-based study focused on the prevention and treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Patients were categorized into groups according to the amount of weight they were asked to lose over a 48-month period, as well as the weight loss method. Changes in the right knee were assessed at baseline, 48-, and 96-months using 3T MRI. Patients who lost weight showed significantly less T2-value increase in the bone layer of all compartments compared to those with stable weight, suggesting less cartilage degeneration over 96 months.

Patients Prefer Immediate Test Results
Radiology resident David Mihal, MD, of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (CCH), shared a “Survey that Showed Patients Prefer to Get Immediate Test Results”. Dr. Mihal began the four-phase study after learning that 20 percent of patients were uncertain about how they were going to get their results and had expressed anxiety to the technologist doing the exam. In phase one, techs screened outpatients to identify those who were nervous about their results. In phase two, the front desk staff checked for patients who didn’t have a follow-up appointment and offered them the option of immediate results. In phase three, all radiography outpatients were offered results as part of a questionnaire at check-in after a 10 to 20 minute wait. In phase four, the wait-time notification was eliminated from the questionnaire. Each successive phase tripled the rate at which patients used the service. Perhaps more important, 97 percent of patients understood that immediate results were available, and 92 percent of patient comments on the availability of the service were positive.

CurveBeam designs and manufactures Cone Beam CT imaging equipment specifically designed for the orthopedic and podiatric specialties, including the pedCAT, a compact, ultra-low dose CT imaging system. This technology allows doctors to make a better diagnosis the first time, eliminating the need for additional scans and, therefore, reducing low-level radiology exposure to patients. Best of all, the practice has access to the results right away. CurveBeam is proud to have participated in the 2017 RSNA Annual Meeting and is looking forward to RSNA 2018!

To learn more, visit CurveBeam.com today.

CurveBeam Announces FDA 510(k) Clearance for InReach Cone Beam CT Imaging System for the Upper Extremities

InReachMay 8, 2017 – Warrington, Penn. – CurveBeam announced it has received FDA 510(k) clearance for the InReach, a Cone Beam CT imaging system primarily designed for the hand, wrist &elbow; & lower extremities in non-weight bearing position.

The InReach is an ultra-compact CT scanner that provides high-contrast 3D datasets of bony anatomy, which could potentially replace radiographs as a first line of diagnosis.                                                                                              

The InReach is ideal for the point-of-care because of its small footprint, its self-shielded design, and standard power requirements. Point-of-care 3D imaging allows for faster diagnosis and more accurate treatment plans.

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“The InReach will revolutionize the speed and accuracy of assessment of upper extremity conditions that specialists have traditionally found challenging to diagnose with plain X-Ray, such as scaphoid fractures,” said CurveBeam President & CEO, Arun Singh. “The InReach continues the company’s mission to elevate advanced diagnostic imaging capabilities to enhance orthopedic care.”

The InReach is designed with patient comfort in mind. Patients’ hand, wrist or elbow is positioned in a height-adjustable bore while in standing or sitting position. The unit can also accommodate non-weight bearing, lower limb imaging. Scan times are less than 30 seconds.

The InReach device is supplemented by CubeVue, CurveBeam’s custom visualization software.  CubeVue gives orthopedic specialists unprecedented access to multi-planar slices and vivid 3D renderings of the anatomy previously not easily accessible to specialists. CubeVue’s Insta-X feature provides Digitally Reconstructed Radiographs, potentially eliminating the need for radiographic exams altogether. 

The InReach is the second extremity CT imaging system CurveBeam has introduced to the market.

CurveBeam is the leader in Weight-Bearing extremity CT imaging, starting with the introduction of its pioneer product, the pedCAT, in 2012. The pedCAT is the only CT system that allows for bilateral, true weight bearing imaging of the lower extremities. Since 2012, the pedCAT has been integrated into leading foot & ankle orthopedic and podiatric practices around the world.

CurveBeam is currently developing its next generation multi-extremity device, the LineUP, which will provide bilateral Weight-Bearing images of the knees in addition to feet, as well as hand, wrist & elbow. CurveBeam anticipates the LineUP will be submitted for FDA review by July, 2017.

CurveBeam Is the Innovator in 3D Orthopedic Imaging Technology

Cone beam computed topography, or CBCT, has become the standard of care in orthopedic imaging. This technology has revolutionized the practices of doctors in the orthopedic and podiatric industry. Automatic measurement tools lead to better patient outcomes with the added convenience of point-of-care advanced diagnostics. CurveBeam’s goal is to lead the way with cutting-edge innovations in orthopedic imaging. CurveBeam not only adopts new technology quickly, but is increasingly setting the standard.

CurveBeam imaging products are designed specifically to analyze extremities, especially knees, ankles, and feet. These compact, affordable units give specialists high-quality, weight-bearing 3D views of a patient’s foot and ankle. Scans are low-dose, so units don’t require shielding or dedicated facilities. Units are lightweight, mobile, and require no special power sources, so they can easily become an essential tool in virtually any practice.

In the past, doctors had to interpret images manually. CurveBeam’s software uses artificial intelligence to predict a patient’s future prognosis and recommend a comprehensive treatment plan. Providers will find this advanced capability directly impacts their practice, resulting in improved diagnostics, streamlined workflow, and greater productivity.

CurveBeam is an innovator setting the standard of care in orthopedic imaging. Check out our video below to learn more about this exciting technology!

CurveBeam’s pedCAT Imaging System Exhibited at CIRMS Annual Meeting

The Council on Ionizing Radiation Measurements and Standards (CIRMS) 25th Annual Meeting in Gaithersburg, MD will showcase new cutting edge technologies touching on the fundamental aspects of radiation measurements and focusing on the theme of ‘Past, Present, and Future’. The dynamic and diverse aspects of the importance of measurements and standards in this area will be addressed by international experts from academia, industry, and government. These experts will examine radiation protection, industrial applications and radiation effects, medical applications, homeland security, and other related areas.

CurveBeam is pleased to announce we will be participating. A CurveBeam engineer will be presenting on Tuesday, March 28 during “Breakout Session III: Real Time Imaging for Orthopedic Applications.” Her talk is titled “Why Cone Beam CT Can Make 3D the Standard of Care in Extremity Imaging.” With Cone Beam CT imaging, CurveBeam is revolutionizing the way specialists diagnose and create comprehensive treatment plans for podiatric and orthopedic issues.

The core team behind CurveBeam pioneered Cone Beam CT imaging technology for the dental specialties. The introduction of point-of-care Cone Beam CT imaging revolutionized the industry and ushered in the advent of custom dental implants and improved practices in orthodontics and oral surgery. Today, Cone Beam CT scans are virtually the standard of care for advanced oral surgery treatment planning. In the same way, CurveBeam hopes to contribute to the improvement of the orthopedic and podiatric specialties worldwide through their new product pedCAT.

One of the goals of the CIRMS Annual Meeting is to get input from audience participants on the need for developing a 3D real-time imaging tool for evaluating orthotics inside shoes with the patient in a weight bearing position. Once the orthotic has been made, an image of the patient can be taken in the weight bearing position, with the patient standing in his/her shoes with the new orthotic installed in the shoe. This type of analysis could be used to evaluate if the orthotic does what it is meant to do. The 3D weight bearing images can provide information about specific bone alignment issues using the new orthotics. The images can also reveal if the new orthotic is providing the expected amount of correction without compromising other foot anatomical issues, and if the spacing between the major foot joints is affected by the new orthotic.

CurveBeams’s pedCAT system allows specialists a unique bilateral, weight bearing 3-dimensional view of the foot and ankle to fully diagnose and create comprehensive treatment plans. The pedCAT is a compact, ultra-low dose CT imaging system ideal for orthopedic and podiatric clinics. Patients benefit from the convenience of point-of-care advanced diagnostic imaging. Scan time is one minute, and the pedCAT automatically generates all standard X-Ray views in addition to the full CT volume. Depending on the scan protocol, the patient is exposed to 2 – 5 micro Sieverts per scan. That’s about the same as a plain X-Ray study of the foot and ankle, and less than the average daily background radiation a U.S. resident is exposed to.
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To learn more about the CurveBeam pedCAT Imaging System and how it is revolutionizing the orthopedic and podiatric fields, visit curvebeam.com, or talk with our team at the CIRMS 25th Annual Meeting, March 27th to March 29th in Gaithersburg.

CBCT Technology is Increasingly Used by Orthopedists and Podiatrists

Cone beam computed topography (CBCT) systems are becoming popular with orthopedists and podiatrists because they quickly provide high-quality, low-dose, 3D imaging of musculoskeletal conditions. Dentists and podiatrists have been using CBCT technology for years, but the pedCAT by CurveBeam is designed specifically for extremities: especially knees, ankles, and feet. This compact, affordable unit gives specialists bilateral, weight-bearing 3D views of the foot and ankle, allowing physicians to create comprehensive treatment plans. In a Radiology Today article titled “Imaging in the Extremities,” Beth W. Orenstein, a freelance medical writer, examines this new technology.

There are a number of advantages to these new compact CBCT units. First, they have a larger area detector by which to image the patient in a single rotation, rather than taking many slices as with a tradition CT scanner. This feature eases system operation and reduces scan time. The pedCAT, for example, scans a patient in about one minute. Second, CBCT units can be located outside radiology departments, since they typically don’t require a lead-lined room or a special power source. Third, providers will find that CBCT positively impacts their practice, with improved diagnostic capabilities, streamlined workflow, and greater productivity. Finally, patients benefit with an easy-access unit that provides same-day results from a single brief visit.

CBCT provides other benefits to orthopedists and podiatrists, as well, such as the ability to produce load-bearing images. Load-bearing images of extremities, such as feet and ankles, may reveal alignment abnormalities that a conventional CT scan might miss. And CBCT offers improved spatial resolution over other methods, such as traditional CT scans or X-rays. One of the biggest benefits, though, is the transmission of a far smaller radiation dose. The tube current on a conventional CT scan typically ranges between 50 mA and 300 mA, and even an ultralow-dose setting would be between 20 mA and 60 mA. CurveBeam’s pedCAT, by contrast, has a fixed tube current of just 3mA, and the patient is exposed to 2 to 5 micro Sieverts per scan—less than the average background radiation a U.S. resident experiences daily.

Of course, there are also several challenges in adopting CPCT technology. For example, since CBCT uses a completely different image acquisition technology, comparing scans with conventional CT is difficult. The lack of dose and image quality assessment standards for CBCT limits accreditation. And since a unit like the pedCAT automatically generates all standard X-Ray views in addition to the full CT volume, many orthopedists and podiatrists feel they can interpret the images themselves in-house. In fact, some radiologists fear that point-of-care units could negatively impact their role as specialists. But other radiologists argue that the sophistication required in interpreting CT scan results will keep their expert services in demand.

In the future, CBCT units may even be used in emergency departments, as well, since the unit takes up so little space. The pedCAT’s footprint, for example, is about four feet by five feet. This means a CPCT scanner could be easily relocated where needed since it is relatively lightweight and mobile.

Read ““Imaging in the Extremities” by Beth W. Orenstein here: http://www.radiologytoday.net/archive/rt0317p16.shtml

The Hospital for Special Surgery Utilization of pedCAT

The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) located in Manhattan is ranked as the #1 hospital for orthopedics by the prestigious US News and World Report (2016-2017). And when the surgeons and clinicians at this elite medical institution need to make a proper foot and ankle diagnosis, they rely on CurveBeam’s revolutionary pedCAT system for fast and accurate 3D imaging.

Assessing the root cause of a patient’s pain is essential for developing a comprehensive treatment plan. At HSS, this evaluation process begins with an interview so that specialists can learn a patient’s unique history and obtain information regarding the primary care physician’s prognosis. Then the patient steps into the pedCAT scanner, where expert radiologists can conduct foot and ankle imaging faster than X-rays and CT scans, resulting in fewer hospital trips and significantly reduced exposure to radiation. The pedCAT system delivers the highest quality images and robust data, allowing physicians to make the most accurate diagnosis of the malady, and guiding the surgeon in the operating room for a superior treatment outcome. Watch below and visit curvebeam.com to learn more about the pedCAT.

 

The Opportunity for Private Office Imaging

Changes in healthcare insurance, regulations, and other factors have shifted the bulk of imaging services to hospitals, but the opportunity for private radiologists is still very promising.

“Hospital outpatient imaging has been migrating from private offices since about 2010,” says Dr. David C. Levin of Thomas Jefferson University, as reported by Aunt Minnie. “But that doesn’t mean that radiologists still can’t make private office ventures work.”

Dr. Levin goes further than just his diagnosis of the medical imaging service industry by prescribing a solution to private radiology offices interested in increase their imaging business.  His business model suggestions include a mix of customer service, marketing, and cost competitive advice that can turn around a struggling radiology office and build a successful and sustainable private practice.

Implement a Cost-Effective Payment Schedule for Patients with High Deductibles

The increasing number of high deductible healthcare plans has created a patient incentive to shop around for low price imaging services. Understanding these plans will help your office develop a fee schedule that is attractive from a cost perspective.

“Patients are going to have higher and higher deductibles, and that’s going to make them shop around for healthcare,” says Dr. Levin. “If you can offer, say, an MRI of the knee for $600, while the local hospital has it at $4,000, you can be sure patients will come to you.”

Marketing – It Really Works

Make prospective patients aware of your services by advertising an elevated quality of care and customer service.

“Hospitals generally don’t market their radiology services, but private practices certainly can,” says Dr. Levin. A well-designed advertising campaign can make your practice stand out and drive new customers to your location.

Don’t Neglect Customer Service

There is so much more that goes into the patient experience besides the treatment itself. Examine the way patients are treated, from the initial contact all the way through follow up, to identify opportunities to improve the experience. Patient frustration can arise at any step in the process. Time saving processes as well as friendly and helpful engagement go a long way to improving the overall patient experience.

Efficiency.  Efficiency.  Efficiency.

Dr. Levin stresses the importance of efficiency throughout the business.

“The more efficient your practice, the lower your costs will be,” he says. Fully utilizing assets and people in a streamlined operation brings down overhead and operating costs, and makes for a lean, cost competitive business with higher margins.

At the end of the day, Dr. Levin emphasizes private radiology practices have an amazing opportunity to improve their imaging services and overall business. Taking the time to evaluate the situation, develop an action plan, and implement constructive changes will certainly pay dividends now and for years to come.

World Cup Special Edition: Soccer Player with a Sesamoid Injury

The 2014 FIFA World Cup officially begins Thursday, June 12. The world’s top soccer players will all be in Rio, Brazil for one of the biggest sporting events of the decade. The next two weeks will be filled with cheering fans, tears of joy,  and national pride. But inevitably, there will also be injuries. In fact, before the games even begin, a number of players already know they will have to sit them out.

For professional athletes and weekend warriors alike, an accurate diagnosis from the onset can make a huge impact on the speed of recovery.  When it comes to bony injuries of the foot and ankle, the pedCAT is the only tool in the world that can provide a weight bearing, three dimensional image of the entire foot or both feet.

Here’s a case of a 30-year-old soccer player, who was treated by a  California podiatrist. The athlete injured his right great toe and sesamoids while playing soccer. The doctor observed that the patient’s first metatarsophalangeal joint was swollen and ecchymotic, and that he was tender upon palpation of the great toe joint and sesamoid bones.

The doctor took standard non-weight bearing X-Ray images of the patient. The AP and lateral X-Rays showed an obvious fracture with displacement in the medial sesamoid. The lateral appeared to have a fracture, but the doctor could not confirm his suspicion with the X-Ray. The doctor also took an axial X-Ray, but it had no diagnostic benefit since the patient could not extend his great toe.

double sesamoid fracture x-ray

The doctor then took a pedCAT scan of the same patient. The CT images clearly showed a severely displaced right medial sesamoid oblique fracture and a minimally displaced lateral sesamoid fracture. The oblique lateral sesamoid fracture demonstrated 2 mm of plantar displacement with excellent bony contact/ apposition in the dorsal 4 mm of the sesamoid.

pedCAT double sesamoid fracturepedCAT lateral sesamoid fracture displacement

Although the diagnostic information provided by the pedCAT did not alter the treatment plan for the medial sesamoid, it did confirm the injury to the lateral sesamoid. More importantly, the pedCAT was able to provide diagnostic information regarding the geometric nature of the lateral sesamoid fracture.

 

“I could determine that there was enough bony contact to allow for bone healing with appropriate conservative care management,” the doctor said.