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Home » Men's healthcare » Advancements in ultrasound technology ease prostate cancer diagnosis

Simon Jarvis

Regional Sales Manager, Ultrasound, Segment Lead – Urology & Surgery

Ultrasound technology is playing an important role in helping clinicians make critical diagnoses in patients and plan onward treatment strategies.

Tissue biopsies, though invasive and sometimes uncomfortable, are crucial for diagnosing conditions such as prostate cancer and liver or kidney disease. Using ultrasound technology, clinicians can decide on treatment protocols and future therapies based on collected tissue samples.

Modern ultrasound tech for prostate cancer

Improvements to ultrasound are making procedures as comfortable as possible, particularly in areas such as prostate cancer. Simon Jarvis, Segment Lead (urology and surgery) within Fujifilm’s healthcare division, explains that men identified as potentially having prostate cancer from a high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test reading will be referred by GPs to a consultant for assessment, followed by an MRI scan.

If a lesion is found on review of the MRI scan by a radiologist, the lesion is scored and then the patient would be counselled for the next stage. Potentially, this would be a prostate biopsy performed using an ultrasound-guided probe, typically under local anaesthesia.

Recent advancements, such as a 3mm size reduction in the Fujifilm probe, enhance patient comfort. Later, Crystal technology in the probe enhances image capability; better ergonomics improve the ease of use for theatre staff and help to reduce repetitive strain injury (RSI).

If a lesion is found on review of the MRI scan by a radiologist, the lesion is scored and then the patient would be counselled for the next stage.

Accurate imaging capabilities

Ultrasound provides diagnostic imaging to identify lesions. A positive biopsy for cancer may lead to a further course of treatment.

Jarvis explains: “If you can’t see the lesion, you cannot take a biopsy or guide treatment. It’s also critical that the ultrasound probe is a comfortable size for patients because if you cannot insert the probe, you cannot take a biopsy or get a report back from pathology.”

For difficult-to-locate lesions, fusion technology — such as in the Arietta 65 IntuitiveFusion — combines established ultrasound and MRI diagnostic tools with software to direct urologists to exact targets for prostate biopsies.

Smart identification software

Ultrasound, a non-radioactive imaging modality, also supports the diagnostic pathway in liver and kidney disease with the biopsy needle guided by ultrasound. This is supported by 3D modelling software that links ultrasound and MRI images.

Furthermore, Fujifilm surgical planning software is available to surgeons to navigate the procedure by differentiating between tissue, tubes, vessels, veins and arteries and ensuring surgeons work within safe margins.

“We can use technology on ultrasound to guide incisions,” says Jarvis. “Ultrasound technology can show what is tissue, what is an artery and what is a smaller vessel. We also have similar technology with 3D modelling on open cases, laparoscopically or for robotic surgery.”

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