UZ Gent earns publicity with BoneMRI

Radiation free bone imaging of sacroiliac joint used in Belgian hospital.

Ghent, March 11th, 2021 – National newspapers and television stations in Belgium have widely covered the radiation free bone imaging with BoneMRI software in UZ Gent today. The coverage followed a press release of the Ghent University Hospital with an interview with radiologists and professor Lennart Jans. BoneMRI is currently used on a daily basis in Ghent to scan patients suspected of suffering from sacroiliitis, a rheumatic disease of the SI joint in the pelvis.

“The BoneMRI images are just as accurate as conventional CT images and we avoid exposing the patients to harmful radiation.” explains Prof. dr. Lennart Jans, “It is sufficient to scan the patient for a few more minutes in the MRI scanner. The MRI images are sent to the BoneMRI server and within the hour the synthetic CT images appear on our computer.”

Harmful radiation from CT scans
Every year two million patients undergo a CT scan in Belgium. The X-rays that are used in these exams cause an increased risk of cancer at a later age. Prof. Jans: “For this reason we often do not perform CT scans in bone injury cases. The consequence is that we miss important information for a good diagnosis and treatment. This new technique overcomes these disadvantages and therefore is very good news for our patients.”

Double blind study
BoneMRI has been tested in the last few months on patients with inflammatory rheumatic disease in the SI joint, or ankylosing spondylitis. These are often young patients for whom a fast diagnosis is important to prevent severe structural lesions at a later age. The results of the conventional CT scan and the BoneMRI were compared in a double blind study and were proven to be as sensitive and specific in both scans.

Application in the UZ Gent
The BoneMRI technique is now used as one of the standard scans in imaging of the pelvic region and hips. An estimated 500 patients will undergo this new BoneMRI scan each year. The team in UZ Gent will continue to work with MRIguidance to apply BoneMRI to other regions in the body that preferably are not exposed to X-rays, such as the spine.