By Brian Casey, staff writer
    November 12, 2010

    Ultrasound has a reputation as a portable, relatively cheap technology that frequently serves as a gateway to other, more powerful -- and expensive -- modalities. At this year's RSNA show, look for presentations that emphasize ultrasound's emerging potential in more advanced imaging, even in areas such as personalized medicine -- this year's RSNA theme.

    Take, for example, a scientific session on Sunday, November 28, in which researchers from Stanford University in Stanford, CA, demonstrate a technique in which low-frequency ultrasound is beamed to sites with potential tumors, releasing chemical biomarkers that can be detected with commonly used assay tests (Sunday, November 28, 10:45 a.m.-10:55 a.m., SSA21-01, Room S504AB).

    Other sessions indicate that elastography will be a major highlight this year as researchers plumb the technology's potential for detecting signs of malignancy through measurements of tissue stiffness. The technique is showing potential in particular for breast and thyroid lesion characterization.

    Also look for scientific sessions on ultrasound computer-aided detection (CAD) and ultrasound contrast (though ultrasound contrast for noncardiac use remains stuck in regulatory limbo in the U.S.).

    Among the key refresher courses at RSNA 2010, make sure you don't miss the following:

    • Mistakes to avoid in obstetric ultrasound: Sunday, November 28, 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., RC110, Room N227
    • The applications and pitfalls of ultrasound in oncology: Monday, November 29, 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., RC218, Room S405AB
    • A course on breast ultrasound, including automated screening, emerging trends in elasticity imaging, and whole-breast ultrasound: Wednesday, December 1, 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., RC521, Room E451B
    • The challenges to ultrasound presented by the obesity epidemic: Friday, December 3, 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., RC810, Room S404AB

    If you're perusing the poster presentations at Lakeside Center, keep an eye out for the following:

    • Software for coregistering previously acquired MR images on real-time ultrasound scans for breast imaging (LL-BRE2001)
    • A method for generating structured reports in breast ultrasound using the BI-RADS US lexicon (LL-INE2500)
    • Physical principles and clinical applications of tissue elasticity imaging (LL-MSE1288)
    • Clinical applications for 3D ultrasound (LL-MSE2663)
    • How to identify bowel pathology in an otherwise "negative" abdominal ultrasound scan (LL-GIE2287)

    To view the complete RSNA scientific program and abstracts directly, just click here. See you in Chicago!

    Scientific and Educational Presentations
    Low-frequency ultrasound releases cancer biomarkers
    Sunday, November 28 | 10:45 a.m.-10:55 a.m. | SSA21-01 | Room S504AB
    In this Sunday morning presentation, researchers from Stanford University in Stanford, CA, will demonstrate their use of low-frequency ultrasound to sonicate cells and release blood biomarkers that could improve detection of occult cancers.
    Ultrasound elastography could avoid futile thyroid biopsies
    Sunday, November 28 | 11:15 a.m.-11:25 a.m. | SSA21-04 | Room S504AB
    Elastography has been drawing interest as a means to use ultrasound to detect pathology by detecting signs of tissue stiffness. In this study, researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle will discuss their method to use elastography on thyroid nodules.
    3D Doppler ultrasound measures cardiac blood volume
    Sunday, November 28 | 11:35 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | SSA21-06 | Room S504AB
    In this paper presentation, researchers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will discuss their work on using 3D Doppler ultrasound as a more accurate tool for measuring cardiac output.
    Ultrasound CAD aids in differential diagnosis of focal liver lesions
    Sunday, November 28 | 12:05 p.m.-12:15 p.m. | SSA21-09 | Room S504AB
    In this scientific session, a team from Kumamoto University in Japan will discuss the benefits of computer-aided detection (CAD) in contrast-enhanced ultrasound of focal liver lesions.
    Contrast ultrasound assesses treatment response in liver cancer
    Monday, November 29 | 8:55 a.m.-9:05 a.m. | VG21-02 | Room E353A
    In this Monday morning presentation, researchers will present a technique using dynamic contrast-enhanced ultrasound to assess the response to chemotherapy in patients with liver cancer.
    Contrast ultrasound characterizes incidental liver lesions found on CT and MRI
    Monday, November 29 | 9:05 a.m.-9:15 a.m. | VG21-03 | Room E353A
    Ultrasound scans with a microbubble-based contrast agent can be used to characterize solid focal liver lesions detected as incidental findings on CT and MRI scans, potentially enabling patients to avoid liver biopsies, according to a study from Italy.
    3D/4D ultrasound helps clarify fetal abnormalities
    Monday, November 29 | 9:20 a.m.-9:30 a.m. | VP21-04 | Room N230
    Fetal ultrasound with a 3D/4D scanner can produce stunning images, but are they of clinical value? In this Monday morning presentation, Egyptian radiologists will discuss how the technology helped expecting parents understand the nature of anomalies in fetuses.
    Targeted breast US identifies cancer BI-RADS 3 lesions found by MRI
    Monday, November 29 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSE01-01 | Room E450A
    Using targeted ultrasound on breast lesions -- particularly masses -- identified as BI-RADS category 3 by MRI can help identify malignancies, according to researchers from Brown University in Providence, RI.
    MRI grows as go-to modality after equivocal ultrasound
    Tuesday, November 30 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSG08-03 | Room S402AB
    If an abdominal ultrasound is equivocal, which imaging modality are radiologists turning to? Increasingly, the answer to that question is MRI, according to this Tuesday morning presentation by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
    Interactive breast ultrasound CAD improves lesion characterization
    Tuesday, November 30 | 11:10 a.m.-11:20 a.m. | SSG01-05 | Room E450A
    In this paper presentation, a Canadian research team will share details on why computer-aided detection (CAD) can be a useful adjunctive tool for interpreting breast ultrasound studies.
    Axillary node reporting needs standardized lexicon
    Tuesday, November 30 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSJ02-03 | Room E450A
    The establishment of the BI-RADS lexicon helped standardize reporting of breast lesions; in the same way, a similar lexicon is needed for reporting suspicious lymph nodes found on axillary ultrasound scans, according to this Tuesday afternoon presentation.
    Ultrasound-guided dry needling reduces pain from plantar fasciitis
    Tuesday, November 30 | 3:30 p.m.-3:40 p.m. | SSJ16-04 | Room E451B
    In this Tuesday afternoon session, U.K. researchers will discuss the effectiveness of ultrasound-guided dry needling to relieve pain in plantar fasciitis cases that have been resistant to more conservative treatment methods.
    Targeted 'second-look' ultrasound finds additional, smaller lesions
    Tuesday, November 30 | 3:40 p.m.-3:50 p.m. | SSJ02-05 | Room E450A
    Using ultrasound to take a second look at women with breast cancer who have already undergone mammography and an initial ultrasound can help find additional, smaller malignant lesions, but many of these belong to lower-risk BI-RADS categories, according to researchers from Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre in Madrid.
    Elastography CAD application equals radiologist interpretation
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSK12-06 | Room N229
    In a positive early finding, South Korean researchers found that the use of a computer-aided detection (CAD) algorithm to generate ultrasound elasticity scores in thyroid scans worked as well as radiologists generating the scores on their own.
    Better together in the breast: Sonoelastography and B-mode ultrasound
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSK01-06 | Room E450A
    Combining sonoelastography with conventional B-mode ultrasound improves the differentiation of benign and malignant breast masses smaller than 1 cm, according to this presentation by Korean researchers.
    Shear-wave elastography improves ultrasound diagnosis of breast masses
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:25 a.m.-11:35 a.m. | VB41-13 | Arie Crown Theater
    When used with B-mode ultrasound, shear-wave elastography -- which quantitatively measures soft-tissue stiffness in real-time -- can improve the modality's specificity without compromising its sensitivity, according to researchers from Imperial College London in the U.K.
    Sonoelastography helps identify aggressive DCIS lesions
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSK01-08 | Room E450A
    Determining which ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) lesions could turn into aggressive cancers is one of breast imaging's biggest challenges. Fortunately, sonoelastography may be able to help, according to South Korean researchers.
    High-res ultrasound with elastography beats specimen mammography
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSK01-09 | Room E450A
    Examining excised breast tissue with high-resolution ultrasound elastography could help surgeons confirm tumor-free margins with greater accuracy than specimen mammography, according to this Wednesday morning presentation by German researchers.
    Targeted ultrasound best for biopsy after incidental breast MRI findings
    Wednesday, December 1 | 3:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m. | SSM02-02 | Room E450A
    Breast MRI can find additional lesions when used as an adjunct to mammography and ultrasound, but it's also associated with a higher false-positive rate, according to Italian researchers. Using targeted ultrasound with these incidental MRI lesions offers a way to reduce false positives.
    Nonradiologists drive rapid growth in musculoskeletal ultrasound
    Thursday, December 2 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSQ12-02 | Room E451A
    One of the great things about ultrasound is that its portability and simplicity make it easy to use compared to other imaging modalities. But that might not be so great from a healthcare utilization perspective, according to researchers from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who found that nonradiologists are utilizing ultrasound at a dramatically higher rate than radiologists.

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