The impact of quantitative imaging in medicine and surgery: Charting our course for the future
Visual inspection and interpretation by radiologists or other physicians with adequate trainings are the currently acceptable clinical practices of exploring and utilizing the information generated by various medical imaging technologies. This approach is considered adequate for disease detection, diagnosis, and even for disease staging. Modern imaging techniques, however, can be employed to collect both quantitative anatomic information and in vivo metabolic or functional information. With the advancement of technologies, medical imaging’s inherent quantitative characteristics are increasingly being recognized as providing an objective, more accurate, and less observer-dependent measure for prognosis and monitoring response as compared to visual inspection alone. Quantitative imaging methods that have been proven to correlate with clinical outcomes can play an important role in clinical decisions (1-3).