Meaney, P.; Goodwin,D.; Golnabi, A.; Zhou, T.; Pallone, M.; Geimer, S.;Burke, G.; Paulsen, K.
Volume: 59, Issue 12, Pages: 3304-3313, Abstract
Publication Year: 2012
As the population ages, the risk of bone fracture due to osteoporosis and similar diseases has increased dramatically. Bone fractures are particularly debilitating for older people and pose an expensive threat to the health care system. The current x-ray based techniques are useful in terms of producing general measures of bone density; however, it is now being recognized that their impact in terms of gauging overall bone health is less than originally thought. We are currently developing a microwave tomographic imaging system for bone imaging that will generate fully 3D images of the bone. The dielectric properties of all tissue are quite sensitive to even small changes associated with physical health and are especially so for bone changes. In addition, the 3D nature of the images produces a more complete view of the bone from which the doctors can develop better understandings of the bone status. Microwave tomography is similar in concept to x-ray tomography in that it collects data from all directions surrounding the bone and creates a more detailed image than that possible from a single view. It is also an attractive alternative to x-rays because it is non-ionizing and the power levels used are only 1/1000th of that used by cell phones. The early images clearly demonstrate that this technique is capable of viewing the different structures within the heel, in particular the calcaneus or heel bone. In addition, this preliminary study suggests that the results actually follow those from x-ray CT implying that this could be a valuable clinical tool. These are some of the first actual clinical microwave images and are a major step in the long advance of microwave tomography from the laboratory bench to the clinic.