New CT Scanner lowers radiation, raises comfort for patients

X-ray technologist Lori Rogers explains the benefits of the new CT scanner at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center.

Hospitals are always trying to stay up-to-date with the latest medical technology for the benefit of the patients. The new Toshiba CT scanner is part of that mission for Kalkaska Memorial Health Center. It is improving patients' experiences dealing with medical machines by giving a smaller dose of radiation.

Lori Rogers is an xray technologist at KMHC and says that this machine is great for anyone who ever has to get a cat scan.

"This particular machine gives less than half the dose that our other machine gave and we were excited initially when we got that one 10 years ago, but its improved that much and yet the quality of the scans are better," Rogers said.

The previous scanner gave 16 "slices," or layers of the image. This new machine now gives 80.

"When I do a cat scan of your chest I always tell them to think of a loaf of bread: each piece of bread makes that chest picture. So when we say slice, we're saying that one little section and we can pull out the middle or the top and with the new machine," Rogers said. "Now we can actually do 3D images we weren't able to do that on our past machine."

Radiologists can learn more information about a patient with these images and look at specific parts of the body according to what a doctor needs to see. They can do all this and more with just one scan.

"Besides having a lesser dose [of radiation] on your initial study we can build 3 or 4 off of that study that you'd never have to be re-scanned again," Rogers said.

Those scans are immediately read by radiologists at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City and the results are sent back electronically.

New Kalkaska Memorial Health Center administrator Kevin Rogels says staying current with technology helps people in smaller communities like Kalkaska still receive the best quality care.

This scanner is also faster, taking less than two minutes to complete a scan, and the table supports up to 650 pounds. The opening is also a foot wider than the previous machine, leaving less room for people to feel uncomfortable.

"It accommodates people because, men especially, their shoulders would touch and it would make them nervous like they were worried they were going to get stuck," Rogers said.

Rogels hopes more patients feel at home while being treated at KMHC and know that they can utilize this technology without going far from their own community.

"When you get care here, everything from the nursing care to the food, you're going to say wow, and I know this sounds odd but you're going to want to come back," Rogels said.

As of March, the Radiology team will be available for CT scans as late at 9 PM during weekdays.

For more information on the new CT scanner or to schedule an appointment you can call (231)258-7533. For more on Kalkaska Memorial Hospital radiology, you can visit their website.