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'Revolutionary' Kiwi-designed 3D medical scanners go on trial around the world

Advanced technology 3D medical scanners designed at the University of Otago, Christchurch, are set to be sent for international trials.

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Lisa Davies went to check the new technology out. Source: 1 NEWS

It could be a game-changer for patients, and sending them overseas is the next stage in the ground breaking project that's been 15 years in the making. 

"We'll be testing it with radiology practices around the world to see how it works in real patients and real workloads," MARS Bioimaging inventor Anthony Butler told 1 NEWS.

They're headed for clinics in Switzerland, Hong Kong and beyond.

"We've had a lot of really excited people wanting to be part of that," Butler says.

The compact machines are designed to take 3D images of the wrist and hand. You sit on a chair and reach into the device, then stay very still as it gets the images.

"It's designed to be easy. Most scanners are actually quite difficult for patients," Butler says.

The scanner rotates, capturing detailed 3D images.

Butler says there's minimal radiation, describing it as "the equivalent of a long-haul flight".

Christchurch radiologist John Crighton has been working with the scanner for a year.

Its high quality imaging provides greater discrimination of bone, soft tissue, ligaments and cartilage. 

That means a potential to reduce uncertainties associated with surgery.

"The MARS machine has the potential to answer questions more quickly more cheaply and answer multiple questions with the same test, so it is a revolutionary technology," Crighton says.

"It will be ubiquitous, it will be everywhere."

That's certainly the plan.

"Our goal is to get these scanners in clinics all around the world in community clinics," Butler says.

"There's thousands in the US, in Europe and in Asia."

In the next 10 years, it'll be adapted to scan other parts of the body from the head to the heart, as MARS sets its sights on world domination.