Fitzwilliam Hospital invests in three new diagnostic scanners

People in Peterborough and across Cambridgeshire can access faster and more precise imaging thanks to three new scanners being installed or coming soon to Fitzwilliam Hospital. These carefully chosen scanners support the diagnoses of dental, cardio, liver, and breast conditions whilst also allowing more patients to receive hip injections to relieve pain.

Fitzwilliam’s Imaging Manager, Alison Key, says “This investment in the latest technology keeps the department at the forefront of clinical imaging. The new scanners are capacity enablers bringing new patient services and the ability to see more patients in our current diagnostic services. They also enhance our patients’ experiences and allow for more accurate diagnoses.”

A new dental scanner for high-resolution images and the utmost patient safety

October 2023 saw Fitzwilliam’s Imaging department receive a new dental CT scanner. The Italian FUJI CT scanner generates 3D-images of the craniofacial region in a single scan. It scans teeth and dental structures, soft tissues, nerves, and bones in a patient’s skull and face.

This cutting-edge technology provides high contrast and finely detailed 3D-images of a patient’s mouth and allows for more precise dentistry treatment planning. It is used when regular dental or facial X-rays are not sufficient.

It is useful in the surgical planning for impacted and wisdom teeth, and the accurate placement of dental implants. Using this scanner to understand where roots and nerves are, can help prevent serious problems such as permanent nerve damage after wisdom tooth removal.

The CT Scanner is also used in diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), evaluating cavities in the craniofacial area, reconstructive surgery, and detecting and treating jaw tumours.

This latest compact addition seamlessly fits into X-ray room one. Ideal for claustrophobic patients who prefer a more open scanner with a large mirror and adaptable for wheelchairs, it offers a more supportive yet gentle experience for all.  

Using low-dose protocols and SafeBeamTM technology, the lowest radiation dose is delivered to protect patients’ health. Radiation is based on diagnostic needs and the area being examined. This is particularly important when investigating a patient’s thyroid and eyes.

Lastly, this kit has intuitive, user-friendly software. This means that data acquired during scanning is processed in just a few simple steps to produce 3D-images. As would be expected, FUJI came to the hospital and trained all users individually. The staff have nothing but positive praise for this equipment.

Latest ultrasound aids new cardiac and liver scanning investigations

After consulting with sonographers and consultants and considering their recommendations and requirements, Fitzwilliam Hospital has invested in one of the latest GE ultrasound scanners.

This new ultrasound scanner brings fast and precise imaging to our patients. It has improved probes for better image clarity and consistency.  Enhanced computer technology including an array of AI-based tools and productivity packages supports faster exams and boosts diagnostic confidence.

With GE’s on-demand and tailored scanner training, users have become familiar and productive quickly.

This new machine enables Fitzwilliam to offer two new patient imaging services.

The first is a cardiac ultrasound test, also known as an echocardiogram, or "echo". This scan looks at a patient’s heart and nearby blood vessels and also observes blood flow within the heart’s structures.

Ali says “We are pleased to have a new Cardiac Physiologist, Mrs Ali Anslow, who performs echos to assess how well a patient’s heart is working. Mrs Ali Anslow performs echocardiograms before surgery if patients have a serious heart condition or symptoms of heart disease, to check their risks of surgery and anaesthetic.”

The second new service that this new ultrasound scanner brings to Fitzwilliam Hospital is a special liver scan called a FibroScan or elastography. A FibroScan measures a patient’s liver scarring or fibrosis caused by several liver diseases. It can non-invasively identify, evaluate, and monitor liver fibrosis in chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis.

Ali continues “New to Fitzwilliam, Professor James Stephenson, Consultant Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiologist is performing Fibroscans to evaluate our patient’s liver health. A FibroScan can highlight potential liver damage or disease. This is enormously beneficial to patients as in many cases, there are no signs or symptoms of mild, moderate, or even severe liver disease. It also provides a non-surgical, quick, and painless alternative to a traditional liver biopsy to assess liver damage.”

A second ultrasound machine is on order!

Fitzwilliam’s imaging team is also very excited to be acquiring a second scanning room with another up-to-the-minute ultrasound scanner. This will increase their scanning capacity and improve patient access to diagnosis and treatment.

The same GE ultrasound scanner will be used for a variety of scanning needs. Firstly, it will support interarticular injections for hip pain relief for those who need pain relief but are not ready for a hip replacement.

The second scanner will also help clinicians clearly visualise damaged tissue and organs due to disease or injury. This extra machine will better support Fitzwilliam’s one-stop breast service for symptomatic patients such as those with breast implant problems, mastitis, and breast lumps. Patients benefit from having a breast ultrasound and/or ultrasound biopsy on the same day as their consultation.

This private-only service brings peace of mind or early treatment to our patients. Ali says “Many patients don’t realise but our one-stop breast service can usually be accessed through a patient’s employment private medical insurance, so they just have to pay the excess.”

“Our patients love the built-in gel warmer in these new scanning machines. They expect cold gel and are pleasantly surprised that it is warm. This makes the experience so much nicer.”