Asan Medical Center said it has introduced Artemis, a machine that combines prostate ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in real time into a three-dimensional image, to diagnose prostate cancer more accurately.
Due to population aging and Westernized eating habits, domestic prostate cancer patients have more than doubled over the past decade to make it the fourth most common cancer among male patients. Although prostate cancer is known to have a higher survival rate than other cancers, the illness may become difficult to treat if not diagnosed early.
The new device allows doctors to perform a prostate biopsy while viewing a high-resolution three-dimensional image, allowing physicians to harvest cancer cell tissue harvesting more accurately than before.
Until now, hospitals have had to perform a rectal biopsy and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests first when diagnosing prostate cancer. If the hospitals suspected prostate cancer, they conducted a biopsy while looking at the transrectal prostate ultrasonography. By using only ultrasound, however, doctors were prone to miss cancer as they had to perform the biopsy at the site where the prostate cancer occur commonly rather than the exact cancer cell position of specific patients.
To solve this issue, hospitals have started to use the method of performing an ultrasonographic examination while referring to a prostate MRI image taken before a histological examination to examine the lesion suspected of having prostate cancer. According to recently published research papers, the accuracy of MRI-based prostate biopsy is up to 95 percent higher than conventional biopsy methods.
This method also has problems, however, as there are limitations in that the physician can superimpose the two-dimensional images in their head.
Artemis resolves this issue by producing a three-dimensional image through the real-time fusion of pre-recorded MRI images when physicians perform transrectal prostate sonography for prostate biopsy.
The latest method allows the doctor to take the prostate tissue by determining the position and depth of the tissue accurately while viewing the three-dimensional image.
Also, Artemis minimizes any hand shakiness that the physician might experience when performing a prostate biopsy by using a semi-automatic robot arm and has a built-in navigation system to track the prostate in case the patient moves.
"When diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is important to diagnose malignancy and stage as well as carcinomas, and apply customized treatment according to the individual patient," said Professor Jung In-gap of the hospital's Urology Department. "Using Artemis diagnostic equipment, which combines MRI and ultrasound images in real time, we will be able to maximize diagnostic accuracy of prostate cancer and increase the treatment rate."
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