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Grady General to celebrate Imaging Center opening

On Tuesday, Grady General Hospital will celebrate the completion of a construction plan begun in December 2011 that features a significant investment in updating and expanding the hospital’s Radiology Department.
On Aug. 14, the hospital will host a grand opening reception for the 5,000 square foot imaging center, complete with new state-of-the-art medical imaging technology. The reception Tuesday will take place from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the imaging center itself. Visitors may access the center from the hospital’s main entrance.
“We are excited to celebrate this milestone with the citizens of Cairo and Grady County,” said LaDon Toole, Grady General administrator. “The community is invited to tour the facility and see the center and the newest imaging technology firsthand.”
“Archbold invested in some of the best technology for our patients,” claimed Toole. “It’s exceptionally rare for a hospital our size to have this caliber of imaging technology.”
According to Toole, the center houses some of the most modern imaging technology found in the region: a 64-slice CT scanner, a new ultrasound machine, a 1.5 Tesla Magnet MRI scanner, a new digital radiography room and a digital mammography machine. All of the technology connects to the hospital’s picture archiving and communication system, which replaces hardcopy based storage for managing medical images. This system provides physicians timely and efficient access to images, interpretations and related data.
“The new equipment provides superior image clarity and diagnostic capabilities that can detect, diagnose and aid in treating illness or diseases in the earliest stages,” said Toole.
One of the major patient advantages of these digital machines and results is convenience.
“Families are busier today than ever before,” said Toole. “Having access to these imaging services locally is a huge convenience for patients. In addition, they can feel confident in the new, high-quality equipment and the highly skilled, on-site radiologist who will interpret the results.”
Perhaps the most impressive duo of machines acquired by the hospital is the 64-slice CT scanner and a fixed 1.5T magnet MRI scanner.
“Both machines are known for their unrivaled ability to produce precise, high-quality images that allow physicians to make an early and accurate diagnosis while looking inside the body without causing the patient pain,” said Kim Gilliard, director of radiology. The new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner uses a 1.5T magnet, the industry’s best known and most-used high-field magnet, to produce high-resolution digital images of soft tissue and structural anatomy. An MRI may be used to scan the head to evaluate brain anatomy or the spinal cord after trauma. It’s also used when evaluating problems associated with the vertebrae or intervertebral discs of the spine and provides valuable information on glands and organs within the abdomen.
The 64-slice CT scanner is the newest generation of CT scanners and allows physicians to scan a large segment of the patient’s body for trauma, inflammation, infection or a tumor, all within seconds. Minutes later, radiologists can evaluate images on computer screens and begin to make their diagnosis.
The scanner is also used to image the brain and blood vessels feeding the brain as a way to quickly diagnose acute strokes and other neurological conditions.
Furthermore, radiologists use CT to look for other abnormalities, including herniated discs in the spine; to pinpoint bone fractures and determine the amount of damage to bone and soft tissue in trauma patients; and also diagnose changes in organs, which may be a sign of cancer.
The hospital’s imaging center will also feature a digital mammography machine, technology that Grady General administrators say is currently considered to be the best method of screening for breast cancer. The machine uses compression and x-rays to image a patient’s breast, but instead of capturing the image on x-ray film as with traditional mammography, the image is sent to a computer as a digital file.
“Digital mammography offers multiple benefits for the physician and patient,” said Archbold radiologist Thomas C. Fearneyhough, M.D. “Because the images are immediately produced, the patient spends less time in the exam room. Digital images also have improved clarity and can be adjusted or magnified by the radiologist after the mammogram is complete, making it easier to see subtle differences between tissues.”
Another new technology available at the hospital is an updated ultrasound unit.
Ultrasound is used to obtain images of the body’s internal organs – the heart, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, blood vessels and bladder. Ultrasound is also commonly used in obstetrics to examine a pregnant woman’s uterus and the condition of the embryo or fetus.
Ultrasound images are produced by frequency sound waves that are recorded and displayed real-time on a screen showing movement of internal tissues and organs. This enables physicians to see blood flow and dynamic functions.
The addition of a completely digital radiography room offers patients convenience and comfort.
“With digital radiography, images appear quickly and can be sent immediately to physicians for review,” said Gilliard. “In addition, the digital radiography room has a table that will raise and lower which makes it much easier for our orthopedic and elderly patients to get on the exam table without having to climb – a task that can be especially difficult if they’re already experiencing pain.”
“The new imaging center at [Grady General Hospital] will benefit our patients and community in amazing ways,” said Toole.
For more information on the imaging center or the reception, call 229-377-1150.

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