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Performance of a hybrid gamma-optical camera for improved utility in diagnostic imaging

Introduction
The development of portable gamma cameras offers new applications for intraoperative imaging [1]. Multi-modality systems have a long heritage in nuclear medicine [2]. A multi-model gamma-optical system has been proposed as one possibility for improving surgical utility [3].
The Hybrid Compact Gamma Camera (HCGC) is novel handheld small field of view (SFOV) compact hybrid gamma-optical camera. The combination of an optical and a gamma-ray camera, in a co-aligned configuration, offers high spatial resolution scintigraphic imaging fused with anatomical information from an optical image. This study investigates the efficacy of the HCGC in intraoperative imaging in procedures such as sentinel lymph node biopsies.

Results
The characteristics of the HCGC have been found to compare favourably with SFOV cameras currently in use. Spatial resolution of less than 1mm was recorded with a system sensitivity of up to 214cps/MBq. The effect of operator motion on spatial resolution was found to be less than 25%. Fused images showed good alignment of the two modalities allowing localization of activity.

Conclusion
The performance characteristics of a hybrid camera have been described and initial images demonstrate that it is ideally suited for intraoperative imaging. The anatomical context provided by the optical camera aids the physical localization of radiopharmaceutical uptake. These studies encourage us to carry out further evaluation in preparation for its use in a surgical theatre setting.
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