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New Zealand Specific Healthcare Question 12
What do you consider has been the greatest medical advancement by a New Zealand based doctor in the last 50 years?
The MARS scanner colour X-Ray machine developed by Professors Phil and Anthony Butler from Canterbury and Otago Universities is likely to be a ‘game-changer’ in medical diagnostics once it becomes more readily available.
Up until recently, X-Rays, while providing useful information, have limited diagnostic capabilities. It is known that 2D black and white x-rays currently miss around 15% of injuries.
Colour X-rays have the ability to show soft and fatty tissues within the body as well as differentiate between ligaments, muscle and bone tissue. It also releases less radiation than a typical x-ray machine which makes it safer to use.
A more accurate diagnosis would lead to a reduction in readmissions, where patients have been misdiagnosed, or another injury has been missed completely since it did not show up on X-Ray.
Detection of cancerous tumours, their position and size would also be easily detected.
The MARS scanner is currently being used to rapidly and non-destructively characterise atherosclerotic plaques at high resolutions. Without this technology we would be unable to compare the biochemistry of the plaques and understand the effect of calcification on cell behaviour.