Diagnostic Imaging: Beam Me Up Dr. McCoy
We're not quite at the Star Trek level yet with imaging technology, but recent advances are fine-tuning your medical care.
Imaging Moved Into the Operating Room continued...
Eversman says that CT scans are starting to be used to create
computer-generated models of the heart for use during surgery. "During the
operation, the 3D model is shown on a screen, and it moves and rotates to show
where the surgeon currently is in the heart," he tells WebMD. "It's a
Experts say that imaging will become even more detailed and focused in the
"In the next 20 years, imaging technology is going to focus on the
molecular and cellular levels," says Hillman. "Instead of only seeing
the gross anatomy like we do now, we're going to be looking at metabolism and
physiology." He says that PET scanning is the first step in this
In general, imaging technology is certain to become faster and more
accurate. More combination devices -- like the CT/PET scan -- are inevitable.
"There are some prototype PET/MR scanners now," says Hillman. "And
people are talking about CT/MR scanners." Fusing different imaging
techniques will allow doctors to get a much fuller understanding of a person's
"In our lifetimes, I don't think that we will reach the technology of
Star Trek, where you can wave a wand over someone and instantly
diagnose them," says Eversman. "But step by step, we're getting