Recently, we highlighted Analogic’s long history of innovation in medical and aviation security CT. We provided side-by-side images comparing medical CT with 2D X-ray to demonstrate the additional level of detail that CT provides over 2D X-ray. To build on this, we spoke with Robert Ferguson, MD, chief radiologist with MetroHealth Medical Center for his perspective on why CT is superior to 2D X-ray. Here is what he had to say:
Conventional X-ray imaging, also known as 2D radiography, allows visualization of structures composed of high atomic number atoms, such as calcium in bones or silver in dental fillings, with great detail but is poor at identifying low-contrast materials like muscle or plastics. In addition, as conventional radiography generates images in only two dimensions, all structures appear to be in the same plane, resulting in obscuration, through superimposition, of underlying structures or objects. Computed Tomography (CT), provides markedly superior differentiation of materials, across a much broader range of densities and, in addition, by virtue of three-dimensional multi-planar imaging capability, can rapidly resolve adjacent structures or objects, which would otherwise be invisible on a conventional two-dimensional planar image. In medical applications, this provides more information for disease detection and prevention, identifying pathology which would be impossible to see using conventional X-ray imaging.
Reading Dr. Ferguson’s comments, we are struck by how they resonate with the challenges now facing security staff at airport checkpoints. These staff, like healthcare professionals, must differentiate materials and objects in the scan of a carry-on bag. Checkpoint CT, like medical CT, can make visible objects that would otherwise be difficult to see in a 2D x-ray.