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Innovative New Equipment Improves Patient Access, Image Quality

Innovative New Equipment Improves Patient Access, Image Quality
It took Jim Hamilton three attempts before he could complete a successful procedure that resulted in a detailed image commonly known as a PET-CT scan.

“Being claustrophobic, laying in that tube for 20 minutes motionless is mentally excruciating. The minute I go into the machine, I start having an anxiety attack,” he said, adding that he also never rides in building elevators for the same reason.

Thanks to a new, innovative PET-CT machine being installed at Carle Cancer Institute in Urbana, patients like Hamilton will not only shorten the amount of time needed to be scanned, but patients will also have a higher quality image which will result in more diagnostic information for providers and faster treatment for patients.

Jim-Hamilton.jpg“That type of technology would be helpful for someone like me,” Hamilton said. And will help thousands of others who need this same procedure.

Available for patients in November, the PET-CT scanner is a $3 million investment into premium technology for patients. This technology will open the door for newly emerging diagnostic exams in the field of imaging, plus provide compelling information that can be used for research at Carle.

“We are the only one in the region with this capability,” Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound and Breast Imaging Manager, Thorin Mayba said. “This is a game changer for our patients.”

He said that not only does the new equipment mean decreasing the amount of radiation exposure to the patient, but the scan time itself can be greatly reduced while still allowing the images created to show much more detail. With a shorter scan time, the number of patients using the new scanner at the Cancer Center could increase from seven a day to as many as 30 per day, Mayba said.

“Getting more patients answers sooner is the ultimate goal,” Jason Hirschi, Carle Cancer Institute director said. “No one wants to wait days or weeks when they are scared.”

The nearest comparable technology is located in Omaha or Minnesota so patients would need to travel a great distance to receive this level of care.

“Previously, patients would spend 60-plus minutes with us, but now patients will only spend 15 minutes,” Sinisa Stanic, MD, Medical Director of Carle Cancer Institute, said. “For those patients who are claustrophobic or experiencing back pain, they will benefit greatly from the reduced time.”

Manufactured by GE Healthcare, the imaging machine joins sensitive digital detection with innovative reconstruction technology, resulting in resolution to improve the detection of small lesions, or tumors. The device contains a breathing monitor to minimize blurring in a scanned image and reduces the need for patients to return for additional scans.

Construction has been underway at Carle Cancer Institute in preparation for the new machine and accompanying chiller. Two small prep rooms for individual patients to wait will now be a much larger space called the uptake/injection suite where 42,000 pounds of lead were built into the walls and seating is available for as many as six patients.

Categories: Redefining Healthcare

Tags: Cancer, Champaign-Urbana, Innovation, Radiology, Technology