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CT Scan type of thing

  1. Mar 19, 2006 #1
    I know that CT Scans provide still images of various parts of the whole human body.

    I also know that Ultrasound provides live images and movements of fetuses.

    Is there a machine/scanner that scans the body and provides real-time video of the organs in operation, including blood-flowing, heart beating, lungs working, kidneys, etc..

    Kind of like putting the body under the microscope and watching it function internally.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2006 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Combined, Spiral CT, FMRI, and PET scans are approaching this level of sophistication.
  4. Mar 19, 2006 #3
    Basically, I just want to see the human body function as it does. Still images just don't cut it.

    For example, I want to see exactly how the lungs move when in operation. Yeah, they expand and such, and I have seen animations of the lungs, but I want to see real lungs move in real life. I want to see real blood flow, and real stomachs digest whatever.

    Is there a possible source for that type of info?
  5. Mar 19, 2006 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    I listed them. Spiral CT can be used for lungs. The device scans so quickly that the images can effectively be run as a video; or nearly so. The state of the art is changing so quickly that it's hard to say the precise limits of technology at any moment. For example, GE might be doing wonderous things that only GE knows about until the next trade show.

    I'll try to get Tsu to jump in later. She knows much better than I what is currently being used.
  6. Mar 19, 2006 #5

    I'll search those scan terms and see what I get.
  7. Mar 20, 2006 #6
    Functional imaging is generally done using nuclear medicine techniques. dynamic imaging (acquiring a series of frames at regular intervals) can provide visualization of blood flow through organs or indications of metabolic activity, and is a common technique used to evaluate many organs and systems. It sounds like you're looking for something a little more high resolution though.

    CT fluoroscopy is another application where the CT scanner scans the same region repeatedly. The radiation exposure to the patient tends to be quite high though, so this is not used very often (the most common use is for biopsies or aspirations). Respiratory gated CT is a technique commonly used for PET/CT applications or radiation therapy treatment planning for lung tumours. It's a technique where the patient is scanned while they're breathing. A reflective block placed on the patient is monitored with a camera and used to track the up/down motion of the chest while the patient is breathing. CT images of each part of the respiratory cycle are binned so that the result is a series of images showing the breathing motion.

    Dynamic MRI acqusitions are starting to become more common using the same idea as CT fluoroscopy: repeated acquisitions in the same volume. This generates a series of images that can be displayed like a movie, allowing you to watch the motion of the heart wall and even blood flow through the chambers. Very good tissue contrast and resolution, no (ionizing) radiation exposure, but acquisition times are fairly long.

    All of these are indirect methods though. If you want to see the real thing, you need to either cut someone open, or obtain some videos of someone being cut open. I'm sure there are sugical training videos that probably show some of what you're looking for, but I don't imagine they're the kind of thing that just anyone can get their hands on.
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