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Kaelyn Stolhand
Phone: 281-274-8085

New CT scanner reduces radiation, cancer risk

Sugar Land, TX - 9/7/2010

In the past 18 months, research study findings and major television news reports have focused on radiation exposure from computed tomography (CT) scans. A valuable diagnostic tool, CT scans provide detailed views from deep within a patient’s body. But they require much higher radiation doses than conventional X-rays, creating growing concern among researchers that CT scans may contribute to an estimated tens of thousands of future cancer cases. The new CT scanner uses less radiation to produce images, and then sharpens the images to the clarity doctors need for diagnoses.

Methodist Sugar Land Hospital has taken a leading role in adopting this new technology, which became available in 2009. Since bringing the new CT scanners to Fort Bend County in November 2009, Methodist Sugar Land Hospital has been able to offer patients CT technology that dramatically reduces the amount of radiation in scans while still producing the clear images doctors need to diagnose and treat many serious health problems.

Methodist Sugar Land Hospital was the first in Fort Bend County to employ this newly developed CT software—called the Adaptive Statistical Iterative Reconstruction (ASIR), by GE, that experts say can reduce the radiation dose by 30 to 40 percent.

“I think it’s realistic for people to want to know more about this,” says Robert Malone, M.D., board certified radiologist at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “Five years ago, patients almost never asked about the amount of radiation. In the past year to two years, the amount of concern has increased exponentially.”

“Publicity was generated about three years ago after the American College of Radiology decided to study the issue,” Malone says. And, he adds, “public interest has been further stoked by the news reports about radiation exposure from CT scans.”

“In response to growing concerns about radiation risks, CT manufacturers have made improvements that lower the radiation dose, while still providing physicians the sharp images they need for diagnosis,” Malone says. The advances include a CT scanner that adjusts the level of radiation used in a scan, depending in the area of the body that is being examined. For example, a lower dose is needed for the chest than for the abdomen, which has more soft tissue for the radiation to penetrate.

“If you didn’t have this software, you’d need significantly more radiation to get the same image,” Malone says. “We’ve had this technology on board since November 2009 and we haven’t seen any decrease in image quality.”

Seven of the CT scanners with this capability are in operation at Methodist’s locations throughout the Houston area, and 2 of those are right here at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.

To schedule Imaging Services at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, call 281-274-7170 or for a physician referral call, 281-274-7500. For more information about Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, visit www.MethodistSugarLand.com.

About Methodist Sugar Land Hospital

Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, part of The Methodist Hospital System and ranked as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For by FORTUNE Magazine, is committed to serving the healthcare needs of our community. Methodist Sugar Land Hospital has some of the most advanced technology and medical capabilities in the area and has maintained the highest quality of care The Methodist Hospital is known for internationally. Services include aquatic therapy, birthing center, breast center, cancer center, cath lab, diagnostics & imaging, emergency department, endoscopy services, inpatient services, intensive care, joint program, lab services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, respiratory services, speech therapy, spine center and surgical services.