Woodland Heights Offers the Only 64 Slice CT Scanner in Lufkin
Woodland Heights Medical Center continues to offer East Texans cutting-edge technology in health care. The hospital recently installed a state-of-the-art multi-slice Computed Tomography (CT) scanner within its facility. This is the first 64-slice CT available in Lufkin.
The hospital’s new Brilliance CT scanner from Philips Medical Systems features advanced technology that produces split-second high quality images, permitting doctors to see more anatomical detail in a fraction of the time needed for other tests. With this new CT scanner, Woodland Heights’ physicians are able to more effectively detect and treat a range of life threatening illnesses including cardiovascular disease, the nation’s leading killer. The possibility of discovering heart and vascular disease in an early stage, before the onset of serious symptoms, helps doctors recommend the most effective treatment options and lifestyle changes to reduce risk and perhaps save lives.
The new technology’s leap in acquisition speed makes advanced applications such as cardiovascular imaging and whole body CT angiography (CTA) routine. According to Woodland Height’s Chief Radiologist, Dr. Bill Kent, “We can obtain whole heart examinations in just seconds. With the speed and specialized software of this new scanner, we can now overcome the challenges that prevented us from being able to offer such definitive and non-surgical cardiovascular exams in the past.”
Patients needing a CT scan will discover that Woodland Heights’ new scanner offers a much more pleasant experience. Having your heart and coronary arteries evaluated using a CT scanner may reduce the need for more invasive testing. With faster scan times patients will usually be asked to carry out one brief breath hold during each scan.
“Older patients and those with breathing difficulties or some other distress will really appreciate the shorter exams,” says Dr. Kent. “We’ll have them in and out much faster, and their doctors will be able to access detailed, definitive results in a short time.”
Another advantage the hospital anticipates is the ability to provide more large patients with a CT scan option. The new Brilliance scanner has a table weight capacity of up to 440 lbs.
“In the past, being able to handle some larger patients was sometimes a challenge, because most equipment simply can’t accommodate them,” says Dr. Kent. “With the Brilliance CT, we can handle the additional body weight, and those patients will be able to benefit from this great diagnostic technology as well.”
A CT scan produces a cross-sectional image of the human anatomy, which helps the clinician to rule out or confirm the presence of certain disease, and in some cases to evaluate the extent of injuries to a trauma patient, such as someone involved in an automobile accident. During the non-surgical test, the patient is placed on a table and moved incrementally through the squared off donut-shaped scanner while an X-ray beam is projected through cross sections of their anatomy. The X-ray energy passes through the patient and is recorded on electronic detectors in the scanner. This information is then sent to a specialized computer that reconstructs the information into individual slices and combines them sequentially into a comprehensive volume image of the entire area scanned. The thinner the slices, the more revealing the detail is in the resulting images, and the more definitive the exam results.
- What is a CAT Scan?
A Computed Axial Tomography scan is a test that combines X-rays with digital computer technology. The X-ray beam rotates around the patient and the many different angles are used to create cross-sectional images of the patient's body. These images are formed into a 2D or 3D image that has superior soft tissue and bone detail.
- What can I expect during a CAT scan?
The scanner consists of a larger donut-shaped machine and a table that moves through the middle of it. The exam takes about 15 minutes and you will be asked to lie very still. You will be given breathing instructions and may have to drink a contrast agent or have it injected into your vein.
- Is a CT scan painful?
No, you will be made as comfortable as possible.
- Why is a CT scan useful?
It produces high quality images of the head, spine, chest, abdomen and pelvis. It determines size and location of organs, tumors or infections. It also is useful as a follow up tool in cancer patients.
- What is Dye?
Iodine contrast is an intravenous media used to delineate certain areas of the body. You may feel a warm sensation as it is being injected. There is no pain involved except for the needle stick during the injection. There are a few instances of allergic reaction, but please let the technologist know if you experience any of the following: itching, swelling, hives, nausea/vomiting, and shortness of breath or chest pain. If you have ever experienced an allergic reaction to iodine, please let the technologist know before the exam begins.
- What is a bone density scan?
Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT) is performed on the lower spine to determine the level of calcium content in the bones. The computer evaluates the bone density for the patient's age and the radiologist will report if the patient has osteoporosis. Since there are new treatments for osteoporosis, QCT can be used as a screening exam yearly to detect any improvement in bone density.
- How will I prepare for the exam?
Let the technologist know ahead of time if you are pregnant, diabetic, have sickle cell disease, kidney failure or are allergic to iodine contrast. The following preps are listed:
- Head - nothing to eat or drink two hours prior to the exam.
- Sinus - No preparation.
- Spine - No preparation.
- Soft tissue neck - nothing to eat or drink two hours prior to the exam.
- Chest - nothing to eat or drink two hours prior to the exam.
- Abdomen - You will need to pick Barium up from the hospital in advance. For those patients with morning appointments - nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Drink half the bottle of Barium one hour prior to exam. Drink a half bottle immediately before the exam. Afternoon appointments - Early breakfast. Nothing to eat or drink afterward. Drink a half bottle of Barium one hour prior to exam and half bottle immediately before the exam.
- Abdomen/Pelvis - Follow the abdomen only instructions. However, drink half of the Barium bottle 6-8 hours before the scan and half the bottle one hour prior to the exam. Nothing to eat or drink six hours before the exam.
- Pelvis only - Drink one whole bottle 6-8 hours before exam. Do not eat or drink anything six hours before the exam.
- Bone density scan - No preparation.
- CT guided biopsy - Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
- Any extremity or bone - No preparation.
- What is CT guided biopsy?
The insertion of a biopsy needle into a particular tissue in order to obtain a tissue sample. The position of the needle is guided by CT imaging to determine exact location(s) of the tissue in question.
- Why do I need a biopsy?
Some tissue abnormalities are difficult to distinguish; therefore, it is important to obtain a tissue sample and have it analyzed in the lab. Some infections, cysts, or inflammations may show up that are indistinguishable from cancer.
- What are the risks involved?
- Bleeding - small risk because of the needle puncture.
- Pneumothroax - this partial or whole collapse of the lung can occur when a needle is passed through lung tissue. The risk is higher with people who have lung disease. If this happens, a tube will be inserted through your side into your lung to evacuate the air leak until it is sealed.
- Infection - very rare, but can be introduced into the body cavity from germs on the outside of the skin.
- How can the risks be decreased?
Please let us know if you have any history of irregular bleeding. Your bleeding time also will be checked prior to the exam by having blood drawn. Do not take aspirin containing medicines such as Motrin. Do not take Coumadine (blood thinner) prior to the procedure. Please consult with your doctor before stopping any prescription medicine.
- Is a biopsy painful?
Most pain is usually avoided by using conscious sedation and a local anesthetic. The injection of the anesthetic may cause a slight discomfort but will soon be relieved.
- How long does a biopsy take?
Most biopsies require the patient to arrive in the outpatient surgery department at least one hour prior to the biopsy. The patient will be assessed and given the sedation medication. The procedure itself usually takes about one hour and the normal recovery time is about two hours for most biopsies. Lung biopsies require a longer recovery time of about four hours if there are no complications.
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