Studies have shown that the imaging works to improve contrast of vasculature (Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2010;267(3):409-14; Auris Nasus Larynx. 2009;36(6):712-716). Still, Dr. Farwell said more work is needed for the technology to prove itself. “The data on narrow-band imaging is pretty early,” he said. “It will be interesting in the next several years [to see] how people incorporate this into their practice.”
Explore This IssueApril 2011
Machines with narrow-band imaging cost several thousand dollars.
Worth the Investment?
When it comes to new technology, the tough decision is always whether or not to invest.
“Cost is always a factor,” Dr. Wax said. “You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. But neither do you want to be investing too little in too many areas.”
Often, the choice comes down to seeing whether a technology will get reimbursed, Dr. Weber said.
“Ultimately, if you’re going to put an image modality into place that’s going to be used routinely on patients, there has to be a mechanism to get paid for it. So you’ve got to transition from it being a research tool to a clinical tool that’s valuable.”
Even in cases in which the investment is significant, it may be worth it, Dr. Farwell said. “If we can find tumors earlier and treat them at an earlier stage,” he said, “that’s not only cost effective but incredibly effective in helping our patients beat their disease.”