3D bone scan without X-rays at Ghent University Hospital: a world first!


Traditionally, a CT scan is necessary for a thorough diagnosis and correct treatment of bone injuries. However, this is accompanied by potentially dangerous X-rays. From now on, artificial intelligence will help Ghent University Hospital to convert harmless MRI images into equally accurate CT images in 3D.

MRI imaging is suitable for examining soft tissue, such as muscles. This is done using harmless radio waves. Until now, for bone structures such as the back, hips or sacroiliac joints, it was necessary to use X-rays, which carry an increased risk of cancer. Radiologists from Ghent University Hospital and the Dutch software company MRIguidance have succeeded, after three years of intense collaboration, in developing a new technology based on artificial intelligence to accurately convert MRI images of bone structures into synthetic CT images in 3D, without having to use dangerous X-rays. Simply scanning the patient for a few minutes longer than a standard MRI is sufficient.


This scoop was published in the leading journal Radiology. And there’s more good news! It’s likely that 500 patients per year will be able to benefit from this new scan. In the future, it could also be suitable for other bones, such as the entire spinal column. However, further research is still needed in this area.