Improved diagnostics, less radiation, better outcomes without driving out of state to NC, DC
Patients in Hampton Roads with knee, foot and ankle injuries can now access improved diagnostic information leading to better outcomes thanks to a new piece of advanced medical technology that’s just arrived here – a weight-bearing computerized tomography (CT) scanner. Moreover, those benefits will be much more convenient for local patients because travel is no longer required to Duke University in Durham, NC, or Washington, DC to get this type of CT scan.
CT technology combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around the body to create cross-sectional images of soft tissues, bones, and blood vessels. Computers process the images of the scanned area which allows doctors to see inside the body without operating. The biggest difference is that traditional CT scanners require the body to be lying flat; this new device creates the CT image while the person is standing.
In June, Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists (AOS) took delivery on the area’s first and only weight-bearing device and completed staff training on the new scanner. The CurveBeam LineUp CBCT Multi-extremity Scanner will be in full use by the end of this month.
“In terms of significance for knee, foot and ankle cases, this scanner is a game changer,” said Blake Moore, M.D., orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon at AOS. “By providing a three dimensional image of an injured joint while the patient is standing, we’ll be able to more accurately determine what surgical procedures are needed before surgery for complex injuries or deformities. It also shows a joint’s response to everyday weight bearing demands.”
An additional benefit: less exposure to CT radiation. According to Moore, the weight bearing CT scanner exposes the patient to substantially lower doses of radiation because the design shields against radiographic scatter. “The only area exposed to radiation is the one being examined,” said Moore. “And, since the scanner is here in the office, it will be more convenient for our patients rather than going to a hospital for the scan.”
Dr. Moore believes the scanner is useful both before and after surgeries, such as total ankle replacements. “We can use weight bearing CT scans to create ankle replacement templates that are anatomically perfect,” said Moore. “Post operatively we will use the scanner to assess the effectiveness of a surgical procedure.”
The scanner can assist even simpler procedures, such as bunion corrections, Moore stated. It also has applications for knee and hand injuries and will be used by AOS Specialists in Joint Replacement and Hand and Upper Extremity care.