The clarity of images produced by computed tomography (CT) scanners has led to widespread use of this modality for diagnostic purposes. Especially beneficial in determining solid tumors throughout the body, clinicians are now recognizing the value of three-dimensional renderings of anatomical structures and lesions made possible through computerized reconstruction of two-dimensional CT slices. More recently, interventionalists have recognized the advantages of this imaging modality for a variety of treatment procedures.

“There were 26.3 million CT procedures performed [in the U.S. between November 1998 and October 1999],” says Mitchell Goldburgh, vice president and general manager of the Medical Information Division of IMV (Chicago), referring to report findings from a census survey of approximately 90 percent of the nation’s imaging centers completed during that time period. “That represents a 16 percent increase over our survey in 1996.” Of those procedures, 1.2 million, or roughly 4 percent, were classified as guided procedures. “Some 62 percent of the sites indicated they performed guided procedures including biopsies, abscess drainage and interventional procedures.” This data does not include cardiovascular procedures, because those are usually not performed using CT. Their results are based on 47,000 interviews with personnel from 4,346 hospital-based radiology departments and 1,082 non-hospital imaging centers.

Currently, the Medical Information Division (formerly TMG) of IMV is engaged in completing another imaging census survey, scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of this year.

Advantages of CT imaging for interventional techniques
While other imaging modalities such as ultrasound may prove useful for some interventional activities, CT offers invaluable anatomical information about structures between the skin and the area of interest for complex procedures. Depending on the specific placement of a lesion, an interventionalist frequently is required to dodge blood vessels or other critical structures to avoid complications from the procedure. Accuracy is vital to a successful intervention.

Please refer to the August 2001 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis