Some father and son pairs spend their weekends building model airplanes or treehouses. Phil and Anthony Butler, on the other hand, spent the last ten years building an entirely new version of the x-ray machine… and this year, they finally finished.
Phil (the father and a physics professor) and his son Anthony (a bioengineering professor) built the technology through their company MARS Bioimaging, and after the testing period concludes, you could easily be seeing their work in your patients’ files.
It’s fascinating how the new x-ray works, but to fully understand it, you have to know how the current x-ray creates images. The x-rays in use today travel through your body, where denser materials like bone absorbs the rays and softer materials like skin and tissue allow the x-rays to pass through. The x-rays that make it through strike a piece of film on the other side of the body, causing bone to appear as white and everything else to appear as shades of black.
The new x-ray takes a much more complex approach. The rays pass through the body in much the same way, but rather than using film, a scanner detects the exact moment that each ray touches each particle of your body. The energy level detected at that exact moment is fed back to the scanner and helps create a 3D image that doesn’t just include bone—but a detailed look at the tissue surrounding it.
If that sounds like an incredible complex piece of computing, you’re not wrong. Which is why the new x-ray scanner uses a very complex piece of machinery, the Medipix3, the same technology used to study sub-atomic particles in the Large Hadron Collider.
And a piece of even better news? The technology isn’t just theoretical. It’s already successfully been used on human patients.
“As a new imaging device, a new microscope if you like, biomedical researchers can non-invasively see different kinds of details inside patients,” Anthony explains. “So far researchers have been using a small version of the MARS scanner to study cancer, bone and joint health, and vascular diseases that cause heart attacks and strokes.”
The promising early results, he added, suggests that when the imaging technology becomes routine at clinics and hospitals worldwide, it will mean “more accurate diagnosis and personalization of treatment.”
This breakthrough technology will obviously be a gamechanger for radiologists and imaging techs, but will it impact your daily work as a nurse?
The more accurate imaging becomes, the better you will know your patients’ needs. And the better you know their needs, the more effective your treatment becomes. You and your patient will also enjoy the security and peace of mind that can only come with accurate information and diagnosis. There may be a recovery battle or treatment ahead for them, but knowing exactly what you’re dealing with is half the battle, and allows you, your patient, and their doctors to keep focus on the most vital elements of their care.
If you’d like to begin a career in the rapidly changing and fast-growing world of nursing and medical assisting, Unitek College can help make that dream a reality. Contact us today.