Wednesday, 2015/11/25 – Slicing and Dicing and Pretty Colors

One great thing about Kaiser is that they keep all patient data (as far as possible, which is a lot) in their computer system, and it is accessible from all their locations. It’s not perfect, but it is decades ahead of most other healthcare providers. I requested all my diagnostic imagery from all locations, from 7/01 to 11/18, and I got it on 11/23, on two CD’s. It cost me $15.00, but for a technerd like me, it‘s totally cool! It comes with a viewer on the CD, and has GOBS of images, some of them really amazing to look at. I can’t give you the interactive experience of being able to rotate the image in one view, or to select different slices to view, seeing the structures change, but I have exported a few images as examples.  Here is a slide show of them:


The usual X-ray film image from a CT scan, monochrome, of a slice smack down my middle (coronal plane) The CT scan image enhanced by using color to increase contrast between densities. PET scan FUSED with CT scan: less resolution, but the cancer stands out because of its preference for glucose.   Our brains also use glucose exclusively, so mine shows up as bright as the cancer in my neck.

The reason the PET scan shows the tumor so clearly (though the actual resolution is less than the CT) is that PET actually shows FUNCTION rather than just physical structure.  I was given an infusion of glucose with radioactive Fluorine attached to it. This shows up in the tissues that are the most greedy to use it, like the brain, active muscles, and the cancer. If you missed my other description and details about the PET scan, HERE IS A LINK.

It’s fascinating to manipulate the color scheme, and to scroll up and down through the slices the computer can display.

The imagery is stored in DICOM format, which is specifically adapted to medical use, and a special reader is required to view it, but free readers are available online. SLICER is a feature-rich open-source, multi-platform reader, and MicroDicom is a simple reader for Windows

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