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Quick scan

Friday, 28th January, 2011

Radiographer Sharnie Nelson demonstrates the new CT scanner with colleague Danika Bartley as the patient Radiographer Sharnie Nelson demonstrates the new CT scanner with colleague Danika Bartley as the patient

Locals are set to benefit from quicker and better quality scans at the hospital thanks to an upgrade of its CT scanner.

The Medical Imaging Department has improved the scanner from a four-slice scan to a 16-slice Toshiba Aquillon CT scanner which is able to provide much better quality images and improve diagnostic capabilities.

Computed Tomography (CT) or Computed Axial Tomography (CAT) is a sophisticated and painless x-ray procedure that captures multiple images of parts of the body that would not be seen on a standard x-ray.

With the upgrade, some scans previously only available in Adelaide will be able to be performed here, and the new machine has already cut waiting times.

"We're very happy with our new CT scanner and the increased capabilities it has added to the Medical Imaging Department," said the hospital's chief radiographer, Samantha Gogler.

"We are able to take quicker scans and that has already reduced our waiting list.

"It's also much better for the patients. For instance, patients used to have to hold their breath for 30 seconds or more for a chest scan; now it's almost half that time."

The scanner provides images with greater clarity and this has improved the service's diagnostic capabilities.

The reconstruction of three dimensional images is also of a higher quality with the new scanner.

"We are able to perform a wider variety of scans, such as vascular and intervention scans in which we can scan a procedure as it is occurring," said Ms Gogler.

"An example of this is therapeutic injections and biopsies. We can watch as the needle is being inserted, meaning better visualization for the doctor, and the procedure can thus be done quicker and easier for the patient."

Ms Gogler said patients and clinicians will be well served with the new scanner, although some patients may still have to travel to Adelaide or elsewhere for certain types of scans.

The new scanner was previously used at the Dubbo Base Hospital and was recently fully upgraded for use here.

The cost of the new CT scanner was just over $200,000, which included the full upgrade and refurbishment of the room where it's housed according to the Far West Local Health Network.

The cost was borne by the former Greater Western Area Health Service. A new scanner would have cost about $750,000.

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