This is what we’re doing.
Surround Medical Systems is developing 3D X-ray imaging medical devices featuring a carbon nanotube (CNT) X-ray source developed at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Standard X-ray is limited due to the size of and the heat generated by the X-ray tube. This new, patented technology allows the X-rays to be generated from an array of miniature nanotube sources which can be arranged in a small space. With an arc composed of these tiny X-ray generators, a significantly clearer 3D image can be produced and manipulated with standard software techniques. These techniques are called tomosynthesis (Tomo).
Here’s what you can expect.
The first of a series of Tomo products featuring the CNTs will be a 3D dental X-ray. The device produces a composite 3D image that the dentist can review to see cavities and fractures that cannot be seen in the standard 2D X-rays now taken in the typical dental office. Early studies indicate that dentists will detect at least 35% more caries using 3D, increasing their revenues as most of those findings will require intervention. With an existing installed base of 396,000 2D X-ray machines in the US, the company expects to enjoy a replacement market for over a decade. By that time, the 2D methods may be considered archaic. This composes a total addressable market exceeding $12 Billion for dental Tomo in the US alone. FDA clearance is expected in 2020.
We have big plans for the future.
The technology also lends itself to a complete rethinking of other CT and 2D scanners. The first offering into those additional imaging markets may be a mobile 3D for orthopedic use. There are also plans to use the nanotubes for heart imaging, improved breast imaging and other specialized devices where CNT-based 3D Tomo would present an advantage.