The few, the proud return to Chicago as RSNA 2021 opens in person

Dear AuntMinnie Member,

CHICAGO - With apologies to the U.S. Marine Corps, the opening day of this week's RSNA 2021 conference was a textbook case of the few, the proud making a return to Chicago's McCormick Place after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As expected, first-day attendance was noticeably lower than in years past, even on Sunday, which has traditionally been a lighter day. The RSNA itself the week before the meeting announced that it expected 19,000 in-person attendees in Chicago -- compared with a final attendance of 52,000 in 2019, the last year prior to the pandemic.

And yet, people are here. Radiologists are still strolling the aisles of the technical exhibit floor, kicking the tires on the latest big iron -- and, increasingly, the latest artificial intelligence technology. Presentations are being delivered in meeting rooms. And even the steel drums are back to soothe any jangled nerves.

In fact, a disinterested observer might even posit that an RSNA meeting with shorter cab lines, less-crowded restaurants, and daily calendars that aren't broken into 15-minute increments might even be a good thing. Time will tell if these are new RSNA traditions that endure.

Whether it's in person or virtual, the RSNA conference has no peer when it comes to the quality and quantity of scientific research. For example, one talk this week demonstrated how digital breast tomosynthesis has shown itself to be a valid, beneficial breast imaging technology over a decade after it first became commercially available. In another session, researchers showed how chest CT has proved to be a valuable tool not only for diagnosing COVID-19 but also for predicting outcomes. Also, attendees heard how F-18 fluoroestradiol PET/CT imaging could improve patient management in women with invasive lobular carcinoma breast cancer.

Be sure to check out our RADCast @ RSNA for the latest news coming from McCormick Place through the rest of the week. And for even faster updates, follow us on Twitter.

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