For many patients, a first step in diagnosing an illness is an imaging study, such as X-rays (primarily used to see bones), an ultrasound (most often used on soft tissues), or a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Here’s a look at some of the state-of-the-art imaging technologies that can be found at Lakeland:
Cutting Edge Imaging- 64-Slice CT
State-of-the-art 64-slice CT scanners can be found at our St. Joseph and Niles hospitals. This state-of-the-art technology can provide significant benefits over traditional CT scanners. Traditonal CT scanners can take up to 20 minutes to produce an image. This next generation technology can produce pinpoint accurate images of the body in mere seconds without surgery. It can even capture images of the heart between beats.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
Computed tomography (CT) is used to provide a three-dimensional cross section of bones and soft tissues, in the head, chest, abdomen, pelvis and extremities. The highly detailed images produced through CT scans are very useful in the diagnosis of acute illnesses such as cancer. For those patients, CT is also an effective tool for monitoring patients during and after treatment.
PET/CT is considered by many experts to be a significant advance in cancer diagnosis and staging. The PET imaging shows where high metabolic rates reveal the tiniest cancers with the anatomical accuracy of the CT scan.
PET/CT can give physicians a broader view of the patient’s condition. The combination of these two technologies is vastly superior to what either one of them could do alone. The two modalities operate very differently, but together they reveal important, sometimes critical information to physicians, such as the presence of minute malignant tumors.
Johns Hopkins introduced the world to the first production PET/CT scanner in June 2001. Lakeland offered southwest Michigan’s first scans in August 2003. At the time it was one of only a handful of scanners in the country.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) also shows detailed three-dimensional views of bones and soft tissue. MRI often provides even more details than CT. It is used, for example, for spine problems, vascular diseases, sports injuries and heart disease because it can detect even tiny tears in ligaments or muscles or small thickenings in the arteries. MRI gives radiologists the ability to clarify subtle soft tissue abnormalities, thus providing great assistance during disease treatment planning stages.
Lakeland has both a stationary MRI in St. Joseph, which is used for more complex cases and two mobile MRIs, one at St. Joseph, and one at Lakeland Hospital, Niles. Mobile MRIs allow Lakeland to provide quality care close to home at Niles, which normally would not have access to MRI technology. It also helps Lakeland Hospital, St. Joseph keep up with the demand for service. Prior to obtaining the mobile MRI, the backlog was five to seven days. Now, patients can get an MRI within 24 hours.