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Country’s first bone health scanning machine installed in PGI, Chandigarh

Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER)

Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh has installed country’s maiden High Resolution peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (HR-pQCT) in the endocrinology department. The machine will help in early diagnosis of osteoporosis, steroid induced bone damage, bone disease in diabetes, etc.

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Prof Jagat Ram, director, PGIMER said, “We have HR-pQCT, which is the first in the country to be operational here. As it is non-invasive, giving very less radiation and very quick results comparable to bone biopsy, which is invasive, painful and time consuming, it will open up new avenues not only in patient management but also in clinical and basic research.”

The price of the test is yet to be decided. However, the estimated cost will be around Rs 500 with the report available after three to four hours. The machine priced at Rs. 5 crores has the capacity to forecast bone health and vulnerability to fractures by capturing more than 1,000 images in two seconds.

“We plan to start a research where we will give some medicines to the patient and follow up after two weeks to see bone density etc. This will be to know if the results are absolutely similar to biopsy. Once we get a positive outcome, we can do away with bone biopsy,” said Prof Sanjay Bhadada, head of the department of endocrinology. He further added, “Early diagnosis of bone diseases can help prevent future fractures. Furthermore, HR-pQCT can be used to monitor improvement in bone health following initiation of treatment.”

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Primarily used to scan forearm and leg bones, this test will provide minute details about the bone quality, bone mass and architectural details which can be compared to bone biopsy. HR-pQCT scan has radiation exposure of only 5μSv (micro Sievert), it is very much less as compared to a standard Chest X-Ray and one-third that of the prevailing background radiation.

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