The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

February 2, 2013

New technology helping doctors get inside your head

Community Hospital introduces state-of-the-art imaging system

ANDERSON, Ind. — Community Hospital Anderson can read your mind.

And now, with the addition of a new imaging system and neurosurgeon, the gray matter becomes more clear.

Wednesday, the hospital will see its first patient with the new O-arm surgical imaging system, which looks, as one might expect, like a giant “O.”

The machine gives physicians a more comprehensive understanding of patients’ brain and spinal columns — some of the most intricate and fragile parts of the body — through real-time, three dimensional images.

That’s a big help in surgery, since “instead of looking at film and guessing where things might go, we know more,” said Lisa Noble, director of Surgical Services. “It’s a lot safer for the patient. It’s more precise.”

The technology, while used in major metropolitan areas like Indianapolis, is a first for Anderson.

Having it available in locally brings Anderson closer to being on-par technologically with metropolitan hospitals, and cuts down on travel for patients and their families.

“We want to offer the same level of care — the same options — here,” said neurosurgeon Dr. James Callahan, a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine who completed his residency in neurosurgery at IU Medical Center.

Callahan, who joined Community Hospital Anderson in January, has over 17 years of experience as a board certified neurosurgeon, including a term as chief of neurosurgery at Methodist Hospital.

His expertise, in addition to the new O-arm, represent an expansion of Community Anderson’s neurosurgery program.

Before, the hospital had focused almost exclusively on problems with the spine, Callahan said, which represent about three quarters of neurosurgery patients. That leaves the one quarter of patients with problems in the brain.

While Wednesday will be the first time Community is scheduled to use the O-arm machine, Callahan met with several patients this past week.

“Already, we’ve seen somebody who’s had a ruptured aneurysm (an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery), we’ve seen somebody who’s had what’s called a subdural hematoma (collection of blood on the surface of the brain),” Callahan said. “That’s just a couple of different folks who have had brain issues.”

While the program is in its infancy, Callahan said he hopes there’s an expansion in the future.

“Right now, we’re still trying to get off the ground floor,” he said. “We’re trying to keep people in Anderson and change perceptions.”

He added, “Hopefully, we can have people say ‘I don’t have to drive 40 minutes to Indianapolis,’ because they’ll have the same care right here.”

Find reporter Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

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