When we think about the purpose of a lead screw, we think of things like motion, power steering, and industrial machinery.
But the functions of a lead screw in medical imaging play a fundamental role in healthcare. When a patient enters a hospital for a scan, the machine retrieves the scan by way of the motion control in a lead screw. Let’s take a closer look!
An X-ray machine comes with a unique set of specifications for a lead screw. Because every facility has a different setup and space requirement, most of the time, an X-ray machine uses a combination of a customizable nut with a lead screw assembly.
The lead screw and custom nut will initiate the read and write axis responsible for printing and scanning imagery. These custom nuts enable an anti-backlash feature that provides bi-directional operations.
MRI, PET, CT machines
The lead screw is the driving force for the patient entering and exiting the machinery for medical equipment such as MRI, PET, and CT machines. These lead screws are generally 20mm in diameter, with a lead length of up to 2 meters.
A back drive mechanism also plays a significant role in these screw assemblies. If the power goes down in the building while a patient is receiving a scan, the back drive enables the operator to release the patient from the equipment. Because a lead screw is more cost-effective, they are the preferred choice in these medical devices.
Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)
An IMRT is critical in medical imaging because it delivers radiation to a cancerous patient without affecting the surrounding healthy tissue. A liner accelerator combined with a tungsten plate uses precision and imaging to target the tumor or affected areas for treatment.
Tungsten plates are thin but enable high resolutions, and because of this, they require lead screws with an extremely small diameter. The precision of these machines is vital to patient outcomes and machinery effectiveness.
There’s no doubt the functions of a lead screw in medical imaging are critical. These small but customizable components are worth understanding between precision, motion control, and diagnostic accuracy.