Trends in Medical Imaging Technology
Medical imaging technologies have, to a varying extent, experienced significant recent progress. From the introduction of a new imaging modality to its adoption to routine clinical practice, many years of development and testing are needed. Recently, the focus of medical imaging research shifted toward detail optimization and the development of new disease-specific protocols, although several striking new developments need to be highlighted. For example, the adaptation of phase and darkfield contrast, well-known from microscope imaging, to X-ray imaging, provides a new and astonishing level of contrast in X-ray imaging and CT. Another example is the development of new, ultra-portable ultrasound devices, which make ultrasound even more attractive as a fast and low-cost imaging modality. Laser-based optical imaging that uses visible or near-infrared light deserves special attention as some methods have been adopted in clinical practice. Last but not least, improved image processing—both in terms of new algorithms and of improved computing power—have continually improved image quality and opened new avenues of image processing, with many new functions available to aid the radiologist in providing a diagnosis.