NWI is home to high-tech equipment, procedures

2014-03-16T00:00:00Z 2014-03-16T01:08:05Z NWI is home to high-tech equipment, proceduresVanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

High-tech medical equipment and cutting edge techniques are found beyond the boundaries of a metropolis like Chicago.

Surgical suites and physicians offices across Northwest Indiana offer a growing range of treatment options.

Franciscan Hammond Clinic's Department of Podiatry has started offering CelluTome, which gives patients a virtually painless method for skin grafting.

Franciscan St. Anthony Health - Crown Point's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit acquired the Cool Cap System, which fights birth hypoxia, when oxygen flow to a newborn's brain is impaired. The system provides selective cooling, while maintaining a safe body temperature and preventing permanent brain damage, according to the hospital.

The Crown Point hospital also began offering 3-D mammography through its Burrell Cancer Center. The screenings provide quicker, more accurate results while using lower radiation dosages than traditional mammograms.

“This state-of-the-art equipment is as good as it gets and is yet another reason patients don’t have to travel elsewhere for the best treatment,” said Miki McClain, breast center director of oncology services.

Four Franciscan Medical Specialists pulmonologists working at Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospital in Hammond began using electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy, or ENB. It uses virtual bronchoscopy and real time 3-D CT images to localize peripheral lung nodules.

The technology provides a minimally invasive and safer way to access lung lesions that are beyond the reach of traditional bronchoscopes, according to the hospital.

Methodist Hospitals has started offering deep brain stimulation, or DBS. The device is for patients with tremors or Parkinson's disease, said  CFO Matt Doyle.

An electrode is installed in the brain, and it functions the same way a pacemaker aids a person's heart.

Doyle said a Parkinson's patient developed a tremor so severe that brushing her teeth, eating and swallowing all became difficult. 

"She felt like she was confined in her room," he said.

The device was implanted in her brain, and now the tremors are controlled to a point that allows her to function in everyday life, Doyle said.

The hospital system also started using electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound for lung care. 

The bronchoscopy involves inserting a probe in the lungs and pulling nodules in a specific way, as opposed to doing a more dangerous method of extraction, Doyle said.

The hospital system also is implementing a new software component that links to nursing homes and similar nonhospital care settings. It allows physicians to view medical records, place orders and do more off site.

"It's the next generation of tying the electronic medical record to the patient, more than to the facility," Doyle said.

Porter Regional Hospital introduced endoscopic ultrasound in late 2013, a technique that helps surgeons and oncologists with planning and staging cancer treatment. The local technology saves patients a trip to Chicago or Indianapolis for the procedure.

A wide bore MRI machine is now in use for patients at the Valparaiso Medical Center, said Nancy Babich, director of diagnostic imaging at Porter Regional Hospital.

It is wider than a traditional MRI but not considered an "open" MRI, she said. 

"Open has limitations," she said.

The wide bore machine has a bigger opening for claustrophobic and obese patients but has a better image quality than a traditional machine, Babich said.

The hospital also began using a new procedure called transanal hemorrhoidal dearterialization to treat patients with hemorrhoids. It offers a minimally invasive surgical approach to treating the source of hemorrhoids. 

Porter Regional Hospital and Portage Hospital also recently implemented a 30-minute service pledge for its emergency room. The pledge is that a clinical professional will initially see each patient within 30 minutes or less.

Community Healthcare System has implemented high-tech equipment over the last year as well, including endoscopic ultrasound at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago.

At Community Hospital in Munster, radiologists are using PET scans to detect amyloid plaque deposits on the brain, according to spokeswoman Elise Sims. 

"Information garnered from amyloid PET imaging aids in diagnosis and can play a pivotal role in the development of new treatment for Alzheimer's," she stated.

At St. Mary Medical Center, the Women's Diagnostics Centers are using breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, to identify and characterize breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissues, according to Sims.

Images are used to produce thin slices that can be viewed as a 3-D reconstruction of the breast.

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