New imaging tools shed better light on treatment
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — As the need for pain management alternatives continues to grow, The Aroostook Medical Center has invested in new imaging equipment that will result in faster, more accessible pain treatments for patients.
“Our old fluoroscopy system had really reached the end of its useful life,” explained Randy Bacon, director of ancillary and therapy services. “Since we needed to replace it anyway, we opted to replace it with a multi-purpose fluoroscopy machine which can also be used for pain management.”
Fluoroscopy is a type of medical imaging that shows a continuous X-ray image on a monitor, basically a live video X-ray, according to Bacon. The traditional equipment, such as TAMC previously operated, is used for a variety of exams and procedures to diagnose or treat patients. The new multi-purpose system at TAMC became operational on March 6. It is much more flexible, allowing it to be used for both the more traditional imaging studies as well as to guide pain injections in the spine or joints.
“The addition of both a new fluoroscope and a new orthopedic ultrasound give orthopedic and rehabilitation providers at TAMC cutting edge imaging technology allowing for top of the line care,” said Dr. Andrew Lederman, physiatrist and director of interventional pain and acute rehabilitation.
“In the old system, the table just went up and down and the scanner slid sideways. With the new equipment, the whole system can be turned as needed. We can reposition the system, not the patient,” described Bacon. “It offers more positions, more procedures and more possibilities.”
In addition to increased versatility, the new system also brought a move from analog to digital technology. This means less radiation during procedures, shorter procedure times, faster imaging production and higher resolution images.
“The improved image quality and efficiency of the new fluoroscope will facilitate more effective and efficient diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, which will have a direct positive impact on our ability to treat people in the community suffering with chronic pain and other debilitating ailments,” stated Dr. Lederman.
The location of this new equipment will also bring added benefits. Pain management procedures previously were done in the hospital’s cardiovascular lab. By moving these procedures to the imaging department, patients will have faster service and will no longer have to go through day surgery for their procedures once the hospital has all of the personnel in place. Taking these procedures out of the CV lab will allow more time for both pain management procedures as well as cardiac and vascular procedures, both of which will benefit patients.
“When both pain management and cardiovascular procedures where taking place in the CV lab, it limited the time available for both kinds of procedures. By separating them to two different areas, providers will now have more accessibility to treat their patients,” explained Bacon.
The investment in this new equipment and remodeling of the space needed to house it was about $600,000, but it was money well spent according to Bacon. “We could have replaced the old system with a new traditional one and saved money, but it wouldn’t have allowed us the improved services to our patients that this one does. At the end of the day, that is what matters most, the care to our patients.”