Technology major Philips has invented a machine which can reveal the interior of a patient's body with much higher clarity than the conventional X-ray scanners, and that too with an 80 per cent reduced exposure to radiations.
The Brilliance CT machine, which has a price tag of one-million pounds, is a 256-slice X-ray scanner that has the ability to provide three-dimensional images of various parts of the body.
The advent of this machine, unveiled at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago on 25 November, may revolutionise the disease diagnosis procedures, especially for examining the heart or looking for small cancer tumours.
According to the company, its new machine can conduct a full body CT scan in less than a minute. It generates pictures by passing X-rays, that last only a few milliseconds, through the patient.
"From the moment a patient walks in to the time the doctor can look at the scan it would probably be about ten minutes," the Daily Mail quoted Jim Fulton, senior vice-president and general manager of Philips CT, as saying.
"A doctor can look at the data from any angle and rotate it to help this. It works like a normal CT scanner but can cover larger areas of the body as it moves faster, but it produces clearer images too by taking more pictures," he added.
Steve Rusckowski, chief executive officer of Philips Medical Systems, said: "This scanner is so powerful it can capture an image of the entire heart in just two beats while also including technology that has reduced radiation doses."
The Metro Health medical centre in Cleveland, Ohio, is the only hospital in the world to have the scanner so far.
Dr Keith Prowse, chairman of the British Lung Foundation, said: "If you look at the change from the first CT scanners it is a quantum shift as it gives a lot more detail. This seems to be another step beyond what we could previously do, it has very high resolution which means you can look at smaller things in the lung and in the airways and you can decide whether there is anything there and how best to get at it."
"In the case of cancer, it will help us see how far it has spread. It will also help us pick up new patterns of abnormality. It promises to be a great advance."