Little Falls Orthopedics (LFO) recently implemented a new computed radiography (CR) digital imaging system, bringing benefits both to the Little Falls location as well as LFO’s satellite clinics throughout central Minnesota.
The equipment used is quite similar to conventional radiography, except instead of using traditional x-ray film and chemicals, the image is captured on an imaging plate and, through the use of a CR reader, it is digitized.
“The digital image can then be viewed and enhanced in a variety of ways such as contrast, brightness, filtration and size, using specialized software,” said Tracy VanHercke, LFO administrator. “Images are also enhanced digitally to aid in interpretation, assisting providers in making diagnoses.”
In addition to providers, patients benefit from the new technology as well.
“Computed radiography often requires fewer retakes due to under or over-exposure which can result in lowering the overall radiation dose to the patient,” VanHercke said. “Image acquisition is much faster and the images can be stored on disk for patients to take with them or transmitted to off-site locations for review.”
The latter feature is especially beneficial given LFO surgeons provide orthopedic clinical services and perform surgery in Albany, Long Prairie, Melrose, Sauk Centre and St. Cloud, in addition to the home office in Little Falls.
“We use the McKesson Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), which allows our providers to view the high-resolution images remotely, whether they are in one of our five satellites, in the operating room, or even in their own homes,” VanHercke said. “In addition, CR enables the images to be easily shared with other providers and allows us to be more environment-friendly, thanks to the elimination of chemicals.”
The addition of this technology to LFO was made possible, in large part, thanks to a $64,915 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. Kathy Lange, director of St. Gabriel’s Healthcare Foundation, submitted the application on behalf of LFO. Additional resources were committed to the project, both from the Fargo Division of Catholic Health Initiatives and from individuals, including Dr. Philip and Susy Prosapio.
“The Otto Bremer Foundation strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities,” said Lange. “We are very grateful that its board chose to support our initiative. It’s a gift that will resonate throughout the region thanks to LFO’s reputation as a center of excellence for orthopedic care in central Minnesota.”
VanHercke added, “We also invested in OrthoView, a digital planning and templating software system, which offers our surgeons the ability to create detailed pre-operative plans quickly and easily from digital x-ray images. OrthoView enables our surgeons to digitally plan and create templates for joint arthroplasty (total joint replacements) and revisions, trauma cases, limb-deformity corrections and osteotomies, in an effort to achieve our goal of film-free radiology. The software, together with 42-inch monitors in each patient examination room at the clinic, allows our providers and their patients to review high-quality, true-to-size images while they are discussing their procedures. It’s quite a remarkable upgrade.”
People with questions about the new digital imaging system at Little Falls Orthopedics can call VanHercke at (320) 631-2200.