‘A real revelation’ – New scanner at Sierra Nevada Hospital pinpoints problems
A new X-ray scanner at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital has medical officials excited about its capabilities for better diagnosis and location of body problems.
The Siemens Somatom Sensation 16-slice CT scanner replaces a single-slice scanner and allows doctors to see areas in any direction they want on computer screens.
“For us, it’s a real revelation,” said Dr. Rob Crockett, medical director of the radiology department. “We used to get high definition or high speed at one time, this lets us do both.”
The new scanner’s wider beam allows radiologists to look at scans of vein systems “over wider areas, the whole chest, the whole abdomen,” Crockett said. “It produces a detailed set of data that can be manipulated by the computer, truly in three dimensions.”
That means a doctor can now look at a problematic area from the front, back, side, top or bottom and can rotate the image to see it at any imaginable angle. It also allows a doctor to see an area on various planes of depth, front to back.
“Last week we had a shoulder fracture and they’re often complicated,” Crockett said. “Displaying it on various planes showed where the pieces were,” in relation to the muscles and organs. “I think it was very helpful for the surgeons.”
With 16 rows of detectors in the machine that wraps around a prone patient, more can be scanned in a quicker period, Crockett said. The manufacturer says that also can lead to increased radiation levels of up to 15 percent, but the doses are in shorter bursts than older, single-slice scanners.
The scanner also allows diagnosis of maladies “with much less invasiveness,” to the body, Crockett said. “We don’t have to put a catheter into the central arteries,” to scan something closer.
“Now we can do it with arm IV catheter,” Crockett said. “It reduces the risk of stroke and the risk of harming arteries.”
“Before it was almost a surgical procedure,” using catheters with a scanner according to Danny Buttacavoli, the radiology department’s technical supervisor. “Now it’s a diagnostic procedure.”
Buttacavoli said the images are also great for medical training. Students can now see malady images plainly with the scanner and a computer that only an autopsy could reveal before.
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