Keswick resident Dillon McCarthy has a renewed sense of hope that he will be able to continue doing the activities he loves – like taking regular walks – thanks to the opening of the newly redeveloped Diagnostic Imaging Interventional Radiology Suite at Southlake Regional Health Centre.
McCarthy had two arteries that were so badly clogged he could barely walk before receiving a minimally invasive surgery in the new suite at the Hospital. Using the latest technology, McCarthy’s arteries were cleared without incident
“I have always loved to walk so this condition was like putting handcuffs on me,” he said. “I felt a huge difference the next day, and I was putting a new roof on my garage the very next week. What a difference that procedure made.”
The completion of the suite, located in the Diagnostic Imaging Department, marks the successful end to the first phase of the Southlake Foundation’s $16-million Images for Life fundraising initiative, which is designed to fund interventional radiology, a second MRI machine, and other diagnostic imaging equipment across the Hospital campus along with building the infrastructure to house them.
“More successful health outcomes are borne of better access to early detection and an earlier start to treatment,” said Dr. Dave Williams, hospital President and CEO. “Southlake, with its regional cardiac and cancer centres, is building a reputation as a leader in successful outcomes and leading-edge procedures. But we know that we can’t treat it if we can’t find it. That is where diagnostic imaging becomes so important to successful outcomes.”
The high-tech operating suite features a procedures table connected to the latest CT, ultrasound, and x-ray imaging machinery – imaging tools that form the basis of successful minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment, a significant medical advancement that has revolutionized patient care. While we tend to think of these tools like cameras, they are actually designed to enable interventional radiologists to look through the body, not at it, to guide high-precision instruments.
“This technology allows interventional radiologists to perform minimally invasive procedures using real-time imaging guidance,” says Southlake Radiologist Dr. Raymond Chan.
The new suite also includes a second, smaller room equipped with ultrasound scanning technology for less-complicated procedures. By having two rooms, interventional radiologists can move between both, allowing for greater patient flow and less down time.
More than 70 per cent of the procedures that take place in the suite – such as tumor ablation, biopsies, and catheter insertion for chemotherapy treatment – are related to cancer. As well, the suite is used to treat uterine fibroids, drain blocked organs such as kidneys, perform angiograms to see blood flow, and re-open blocked arteries to relieve pain and prevent amputation.
Immediate, on-table assessment of results of an intervention such as a kyphoplasty – a minimally invasive surgical procedure used for treating spinal fractures resulting from osteoporosis or cancer, or radiofrequency ablation – where targeted energy is used to heat and destroy tumour cells, are enabled through the use of the suite.
The next phase of the Images for Life campaign will include the purchase and installation of a new state-of-the-art MRI unit which will mean that at least 5,000 more scans can be performed each year at Southlake. The increased capacity will reduce wait times for non-urgent patients by as much as 76 per cent in the first year alone and will translate into an earlier start to treatment and more successful outcomes for patients.
Down the road, Images for Life will result in the expansion and upgrade of x-ray services in the Fracture Clinic and the Emergency Department, and will facilitate the addition of two ultrasound units – one for the Maternal Child Program and one for Diagnostic Imaging.