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Diagnostic Imaging Relishes Latest in Tools

Posted: September 13, 2019

In addition to the newly named Shaw Family Kitchen, new patient rooms and surgical suites, the North Wing at NorthBay Medical Center features advanced imaging services with the most up-to-date equipment.

The hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Department, located on the first floor of the new wing, is equipped with a state-of-the-art 256 CT Slice Scanner; two ultrasound machines; two radiology/fluoroscopy rooms; and a nuclear medicine gamma camera.

The imaging services that can be provided in the wing have long been available at NorthBay, but upgrades of equipment means the imaging will be even more detailed and can be provided in a manner that is most comfortable for patients, explained Jerry Wilcox, director of Diagnostic Imaging.

And some of it has already been in use, even though patients won’t be in the new wing until October.

“The ultrasound equipment, for example, is all brand new but we got it a year early and because it is not anchored in one place, we have been able to use it right away,” Jerry said. Ultrasound imaging is used in a number of medical settings, from looking at babies inside the womb to viewing arteries and veins and internal organs such as the liver and kidneys.There are two rooms dedicated to fluoroscopic imaging, that shows continuous X-ray images on a monitor. Credit: Photographs  © 2019, Sasha Moravec

Still other equipment in the wing is brand new, including the two new radiology/fluoroscopy rooms which provide a larger space for fluoroscopic procedures.  Fluoroscopy is a type of medical imaging that shows continuous X-ray images on a monitor that when put together look like a movie. It is used in a wide variety of examinations and procedures, from viewing the gastrointestinal tract to guiding lumbar punctures.

The nuclear medicine gamma camera is used during procedures in which very small amounts of radioactive materials are used to examine organ function and structure inside a patient.

Other equipment such as the Philips 256 Slice CT scanner was moved into the new wing from the former imaging department space. MRI services at the hospital were not relocated but are available elsewhere on the campus. And a remodel of the Emergency Department last year included new CT scanning and X-ray equipment there as well.

Outpatient imaging services are provided elsewhere by Solano Diagnostics Imaging.

The biggest difference for staff at the hospital is the sheer size of the new imaging department. It is more than double the space the imaging department had before, which means more space for procedures and also more comfortable waiting areas and patient recovery space.

“There is a patient holding area, so when they come down for a procedure we can keep them in the department afterward and check their vitals and so forth outside of the X-ray or CT scan rooms. It’s just a more comfortable setting for the patient,” Jerry said.

And another change has Jerry and staff smiling: windows. “After nearly 40 years of imaging, this is the first department I’ve had with windows,” he quipped. “They are in the hallways as you walk between the rooms but it provides a much brighter experience.”