In a major technological leap forward, Sanford Health installed a new digital PET/CT imaging system at Sanford Broadway Medical Center in Fargo this February. Doctors and technologists who work with the new, nearly $3 million system, say it is a life-saving upgrade for cancer patients, and well worth the investment.
“This scanner allows us to see and detect with confidence lesions four-to-five millimeters in size as compared to a standard PET/CT scanner, which detects things at about eight-to-nine millimeters of size all while using less radiation,” said Dr. Erica Martin-Macintosh, a Radiologist Specialist at Sanford Health in Fargo.
Along with the ability to see smaller lesions, the advanced imaging scan can also detect small movements when patients are breathing, which could distort the scans in older PET/CT machines. This upgrade allows easier detection of small lesions in the lower lungs or liver dome. It can also help physicians diagnose cancer in earlier stages. Plus, there is another huge benefit for those who need scans.
“For patients, this means comfort,” said Dr. Martin-Macintosh. “If you are short of breath, if you cough repetitively when you’re lying flat, if you have pain, you’re on the scanning table for 50% less time.
“This is a huge jump in technology,” said Dr. Donald Stallman, Section Chief of Radiology at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo. “Previously, most studies probably took somewhere between 25 and 30 minutes to complete. We’ll drop that down to about 12 minutes, and with that we’ll have more information to deal with than we had before. So we have better quality of information coming in.”
More patients seen, less travel time, better results
Shorter scan times also mean more patients can be seen each day, which in turn means less wait time to get those first critical scans. And just as important, having this new system in Fargo allows patients to use state-of-the-art equipment without having to travel long distances. The new GE Healthcare MI PET/CT scan imaging system is the only one of its kind in a 250-mile radius, and the only one in the Dakotas.
“Unless you’re talking about a top ten hospital in the United States, there’s no better place,” said Donna Newman, Lead PET/CT Technologist at Sanford Fargo. “Our technology sits right beside theirs. We actually deliver the best practice [and] best patient care that’s available. And now in the PET/CT Department, we are the best. We have the best care, we have the best standard, and we will incorporate the best continuum of care for our patients.”
“The world is continuing on despite this pandemic and Sanford has put that as a priority,” said Dr. Martin-Macintosh. “This is something that changes our patients’ care. This is something that improves their care, improves their comfort, their convenience, and allows them to get their care right here in Fargo, North Dakota.”
Sanford is committed to offering the best care in the region, and with this new system that care continues to get better for the health and wellness of patients all across North Dakota and Western Minnesota.
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