Hybrid imaging is fusion of two or more imaging technologies into a single new form. The image obtained with hybrid imaging system is more powerful in terms of accuracy as compared to two single images. Along with depicting the anatomy, hybrid imaging enables visualization of the molecular processes in vivo within larger anatomic content. Technologies in hybrid imaging include ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imagining (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography (PET). The fusion of these technologies have given rise to hybrid imaging systems. The hybrid of PET/CT was introduced in 2001 and SPECT/CT was introduced in 2003. PET/MRI is also an available hybrid imaging system, but not used widely. Both hybrid imaging techniques PET/CT and SPECT/CT have significant relevance in clinical and pre-clinical practice.
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Hybrid imaging scans need a patient to be stationed at the same place for both scans. Involuntary movements of the internal organs can be minimized in hybrid imaging systems. Hybrid imaging systems have reduced the time required for scanning. Usually the required time with standalone imaging systems is an hour or even more. However, hybrid imaging systems have reduced scanning time by up to 25 minutes to 30 minutes. With the emergence of hybrid imaging system, a patient can be scanned in a single session and the desired anatomical and functional data of the organ of interest can be achieved. PET/CT has evolved due to continuous innovation, which enables more accurate measurements of metabolic processes, data quantification and analysis of neurologic disease, cancerous tissue, and cardiac blood flow. PET/CT is a standard hybrid imaging technique used in oncology and SPECT/CT, which is in an evolving phase, is generally used for cardiac scans.
Rise in importance of combination analysis of anatomic and molecular data in the diagnosis of diseases is a major driver of the global hybrid imaging systems market. Further with the benefits of hybrid imaging and its rising use in the diagnosis, there is huge potential for the of combination hybrid imaging PET or SPECT with MRI. Increase in prevalence of chronic diseases, growing awareness about early diagnosis, and rise in the number of diagnostic procedures are propelling the market. Site accreditation, technologist training, physician training, and high cost for procedure among the underprivileged population are the major restraints of the global hybrid imaging systems market.
The global hybrid imaging systems market can be segmented based on technology, application, end-user, and region. In terms of technology, the market can be categorized into PET/CT, SPECT/CT, and PET/MRI. By applications the segment PET/CT scan, used for diagnosis in the field of oncology, neurology and cardiology, whereas, SPECT/CT scans are done for the diagnosis of infections, inflammation, thyroid disorders, oncology and orthopedic problems. In terms of end-user, the market can be bifurcated into hospitals and diagnostic centers. In terms of region, the global hybrid imaging systems market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.
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In the past five years, standalone systems have been replaced by hybrid imaging systems, a trend observed globally. Highest number of installations of PET/CT were seen in the U.S. Western Europe reported increase in PET/CT scans by 72% in 2008; installations of SPECT/CT were lesser than PET/CT. The Middle East is an emerging market for hybrid imaging systems. In North America, hybrid scanning system is highly preferred in the diagnosis of cardiology and global nuclear medicine market. This trend is also predominant in Europe and Asia Pacific. Countries in Asia are also expected to witness growth in the next few years due to rise in awareness about early diagnosis of life threatening diseases and advancements in nuclear medicine. Latin America and Middle East & Africa are potential markets. Growth in these regions is attributed to low disposable income and significant contribution of government investment in health care.
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Leading players in the global hybrid imaging systems market are Siemens Healthineers, GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, Hitachi Ltd., Atlantis Worldwide, Shared Imaging, and Amber Diagnostic, Inc.