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Artificial intelligence will diagnose Achilles tendon injuries

A new spin-off will be created at the University of Warsaw; it’ll specialise in diagnosing Achilles tendon injuries using artificial intelligence.

Combining magnetic imaging and artificial intelligence techniques will allow us to improve diagnosis of Achilles tendon injuries, which are the most common orthopaedic injuries. Thanks to this, the time taken to perform magnetic imaging of the tendon is decreased to several minutes, while the report is generated in mere seconds.

This achievement was presented at the “INNO THINKING” press conference at the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences by Bartosz Borucki – director of the R&D laboratory at the University of Warsaw. As he highlighted, imaging equipment has decreased in price and is widespread, imaging limits no longer apply, and doctors are referring more and more patients for such testing. The problem is, however, reporting on the images obtained. There aren’t enough radiologists, and so the waiting time increases.

While unusual and complicated pathologies do and will continue to require assessment by an experienced radiologist, reducing the load of specialists in evaluating the results of simple, routine tests is necessary. Scientists from the University of Warsaw have focused on the Achilles tendon. It’s the largest tendon and a weak point not only for athletes. Approximately 200 Achilles tendon ruptures alone are recorded in the USA and Europe annually per one million population. Each case must be diagnosed – in Poland, around 14,000 Achilles tendons are scanned every year.

“We’ve created a solution to assess the Achilles tendon that introduces automation, which enables the creation of objective radiological evaluations based on the use of artificial intelligence. It’s the first such solution in the world. We’re convinced that our project will set new directions for the development of imaging diagnostics in orthopaedics and sports medicine, and will improve the time taken to receive a diagnosis, as well as its effectiveness,” said Bartosz Borucki, one of the founders of the Smarter Diagnostics of the University of Warsaw.

Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence (deep networks), the time taken to perform magnetic imaging of the Achilles tendon is decreased from approximately 30 to several minutes, while the report is generated in just seconds.

The company isn’t ruling out future development of services integrated with existing programs for radiologists for diagnosing other orthopaedic injuries, for example, knee ligaments.  New technology can help radiologists in their everyday work.