The Future of Medical Imaging in Malaysia — Dr Mohd Farhan Hamdan
Medical imaging is crucial in the healthcare industry for radiologists and other professionals to assess and document the course of a disease, or to assess the response to medical treatment by generating visual illustrations through imaging techniques.
There are several types of medical imaging technologies available in the industry, and each provides different information or diagnoses, depending on the investigative needs.
For example, in an orthopedic setting, the imaging technologies used can detect and assess any injuries or abnormalities in the bones, joints, spine, or muscles, which helps an orthopedic surgeon determine the best treatment for the conditions. .
When it comes to advancements in imaging equipment, Malaysia is home to some of the region’s most advanced imaging technologies in medical specialties including cardiology, gynecology, oncology and orthopaedics.
This places the country in a unique position to become a leading global healthcare destination for patients in the country and beyond, enabling us to deliver quality care at affordable prices.
Technology has immensely revolutionized the radiology industry and healthcare professionals across the country have access to better treatment options to improve the quality of life of patients.
In the past, early forms of X-rays, or what radiologists call “flat films”, were used to detect bone fractures and diagnose lung infections, by reading the films through a wet developing process in a darkened room. .
Today, most medical imaging technologies are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), bringing promising innovation to healthcare.
Doctors are able to get fast and accurate data and provide a comprehensive report on a patient’s health in real time, which helps in making decisions faster and saving lives.
The boom in imaging technology may bring a new dimension to Malaysia’s healthcare framework, especially when combined with the rise of super specialty hospitals in the country that focus on niche areas.
For super specialty hospitals, diagnostics play a vital role as patients visit these hospitals with the assurance of receiving a healthcare solution tailored to their condition.
For example, ALTY Orthopedic Hospital is super specialized in managing joint, spine and other musculoskeletal conditions.
To support our patients and improve their quality of life, we regularly invest in advanced imaging technologies that are transforming a patient’s journey to well-being, many of which are being introduced in Malaysia for the very first time. These include technologies such as:
EOS imaging system (X-ray)
The EOS imaging system is the first orthopedic medical imaging equipment available in Malaysia. Unlike X-rays and computed tomography (computed tomography), EOS has lower radiation exposure.
It is a low-dose X-ray technology that can capture a full body image – front and side views of the skeletal system whether the patient is in a standing or sitting position.
This is an imaging technique recommended especially for patients with scoliosis which usually requires multiple screenings and recurrent radiation exposure.
The two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) orthopedic images of EOS can help doctors make a more accurate diagnosis and treatment approach, as well as monitor treatment progress.
Open tilting MRI
Malaysia’s first-ever weight-bearing MRI, also known as a tilting MRI, which allows a patient to be positioned in a supine (lying down) or stance (standing) position as the device can rotate a patient from 0 to almost 90 degrees.
The result of this is more accurate for doctors to study all joints and the spine.
For example, when a patient has joint pain, traditional MRI imaging (usually when a patient lies down) cannot detect the pressure on the joints because it decreases dramatically in this position.
However, when a patient is in a natural upright position, the compression and pressure caused by the force of body weight reveals symptoms and disorders more clearly.
Open MRI also reduces the risk of panic attacks and claustrophobic patients.
Bone densitometry machine
It is a rapid, non-invasive low-dose radiation method for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).
It can detect osteoporosis in which bone density is significantly reduced leading to an increased risk of fracture even in low energy injury.
Aging is the most common risk factor for osteoporosis, and one study found that the prevalence of osteoporosis is 14.0% in a healthy urban Malaysian population.
The machine has an array of high-resolution ceramic digital detectors that provide better bone mapping and images allowing physicians and patients to have a comprehensive assessment of fracture risk.
Hospitals, clinics and super-specialty treatment centers that have invested in advanced imaging technologies will not only develop a reputation as a niche healthcare provider, but will also provide advanced medical care that is easily accessible to Malaysians.
It is one of the many factors that attract foreign travelers for healthcare, which helps boost the national economy.
As we strive to become a premier healthcare destination in the region and globally, Imaging will play a key role in strengthening Malaysia’s healthcare offering and improving the access to quality patient care.
Advances in imaging will offer great potential to shorten notification times, meet urgent patient needs and improve overall healthcare outcomes.
Dr Mohd Farhan Hamdan is a Consultant General Practitioner and MSK Radiologist at ALTY Orthopedic Hospital.
- This is the personal opinion of the author or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of code blue.