Clinical director awarded feasibility grant

Epworth Medical Imaging’s clinical director for Epworth Geelong, Dr Paul Smith has been awarded the Mr Kingsley Mills feasibility grant as part of the 2017 Epworth Research Week celebrations.

Epworth Research Institute coordinates the week of activities and provides a number of opportunities to share, educate and champion some of the exciting work conducted at Epworth around improving health outcomes for the community.

Winners of Epworth Research Week are announced at its main gala ball event.

Paul described his submission MRI of ligament and tendons using diffusion restriction, as delivering some exciting applications for his work which he describes as a novel method of performing microstructural imaging of tendons and ligaments.

“It uses a technique known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI),” said Paul.

“This is an MRI technique traditionally used in the brain for studying white matter tract microstructure- a technique also known as tractography.

“It is able to do this by virtue of the DTI’s ability to track the movement of water molecules along the linear axonal tracts.

“Similarly, as tendons, ligaments and the majority of muscles are composed of repeating units of linear structures, water molecules will also travel in a predominately linear path allowing tractography to be performed on these structures.”

Paul said until recently DTI imaging of musculoskeletal structures was unfeasible owing to prolonged scan and image reconstruction time.

“However, next generation 3T MRI platforms, including the new GE 3T Architect platform at Epworth Geelong (one of only three such platforms in the world), has inbuilt technological advances, and offers the potential to image tendons and ligaments in previously unimaginable detail, at clinically feasible speeds,” he explained.

Paul said the Epworth Medical Imaging team hypothesises that advances in image acquisition and image processing speed will allow DTI techniques to be applied to musculoskeletal structures in clinically useful timeframes.

“This will open a new way of visualising musculoskeletal structures, and provide greater diagnostic and prognostic information for clinicians,” he said.

MRI referrals to Epworth Medical Imaging at Epworth Geelong can be made online or by phoning 1800 MY XRAY (1800 699 729).