June 2012

“Hybrid Imaging Systems will be the Future”

Dr H Satishchandra, Medical Superintendent, Bowring & Lady Curzon Hospital and Professor & Head, Department of Radiodiagnosis  & Imaging,Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute, shares his views on the current market status in India and growth prospects

How do you perceive the growh of MRI equipment market in India?

Primary and integral component of most health care needs today is radiological diagnosis. With increasing healthcare burden, the market for MRI in India is huge and bound to grow as MRI scanner is quintessential in any diagnostic setup. The demand for high field MRI systems has gone up considerably as 3 Tesla systems have become the norm in most tertiary centres.

Do you think the technology still needs to be improved? If yes, what is the scope of improvement?

There has been considerable improvement in MR technology in the domain of imaging. However, now with the advent of MRgFUS and MR guided laser surgery, there is definitely scope for improvement of MR technology in the direction of early MR guided treatment for various pathologies.

With the advent of various models in MRI equipment, how do you plan to choose the best out of the pool?

There is a wide variety of MRI scanners available today from a number of leading healthcare imaging companies. An ideal choice would be a high field scanner with a short bore, priced competitively and with reliable after sales service.

In a price sensitive market like India, is MRI diagnosis an affordable technology?

MRI has provided a never before perspective to accurate diagnosis but it comes at a price. Affordability is still an issue for the majority seeking healthcare in government run units but cost shouldn’t deprive any individual from getting the best possible treatment. An effective public -private partnership will be able to provide the latest in MR technology to the common man.

To what extent, MRI has revolutionised radiodiagnosis? What more do you expect from the developers?

There is no doubt that MRI has revolutionised diagnosis to a great extent and has made inroads in treating various pathologies with its guidance. Early diagnosis is the key to effective treatment and with minimal risk and diagnosis, MRI has become indispensable in the management of a good number of pathologies. PET-MRI with unmatched anatomical details of MRI combined with functional imaging of PET can provide exciting new applications, which can truly revolutionise the world of diagnosis.

What is the future of imaging? Do you think interventional radiology can rule the treatment procedures?

Imaging at the functional and molecular level with the use of hybrid imaging systems will be the future. As radiology is an ever growing and complex medical speciality, it is practically impossible for a radiologist to maintain adequate expertise in the entire field. This warrants the need for subspecialties to be developed in radiology paralleling the clinical counterparts. Interventional radiology is one such subspecialty which has taken radiology into the forefront of therapeutics with minimal risk. Although IR procedures are expensive with short hospital stay and less complications, the cost benefit analysis is in favour of IR procedures. There are and will be turf issues with IR procedures and if the radiologists are given sufficient clinical training, then IR can eventually rule the treatment procedures as rapid advances are being made in neuro intervention and interventional oncology. //

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