By Alexander Germanis
Living in Central Illinois, it is easy to forget oceans and seas dominate the surface of the planet. Whether the surface waters of these oceans are rolling or calm, they still do not reveal what is going on beneath the waves. While there are ways we can physically travel into the depths, technology such as sonar or remote submersibles provide us easier and safer ways to see what lies beneath.
Our bodies, like the earth on which we live, are similar to the oceans in that our surface appearance does not always grant clues as to what is happening within. But, like with exploring the seas, there is technology that allows us to see beneath the surface.
Fort Jesse Imaging Center in Normal, Illinois utilizes such technology to peer beneath the surface of the human body in order to help guide people down their proper path to wellness.
Since Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovered what he dubbed “x-rays” over a hundred years ago, medical imaging has been a way to view the internal structures of the body without resorting to the painfully invasive method of going under the scalpel. Over the decades to follow, other modalities of medical imaging were discovered and developed.
In 2004, Fort Jesse Imaging Center (FJIC) opened in order to provide outpatient access to multiple imaging modalities under one roof and at a lower cost than other healthcare providers.
Apart from the same office, Gale Keeran Center for Women provides its patients with a full spectrum of comprehensive breast imaging services.
“We are pleased to offer premier diagnostic imaging,” says Amy Jeffreys, Practice Liaison and Director of Marketing and Sales at FJIC. “From MRIs to CT Scans, from bone density screenings to ultrasound, we have the equipment and training to meet almost any imaging need.”
While FJIC’s radiologists do use x-rays—the oldest and most common medical imaging method—sometimes an x-ray is just not the right tool for the job. For those other times, FJIC’s staff is trained and skilled in the operation of many other imaging modalities.
PET (positron emission tomography) and CT (computerized tomography) scans work in tandem primarily for oncological and neurological purposes. Cancerous tumors and signs of neurological problems can be measured and detected with these two methods.
With MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), radio frequency pulses and computers join forces to image the internal structures of the body without the use of any radiation.
Ultrasound utilizes high frequency sound waves in order to produce images of the soft tissues of the body.
Also performed at FJIC are bone density scans, sometimes called DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), an important step in looking for osteoporosis and bone mineral loss.
To help fight the biggest cancer killer in America, lung cancer, low-dose CT lung screenings are also offered.
With Women in Mind
At both FJIC and the Gale Keeran Center for Women, they are aware there are some medical problems mostly unique to women. They also realize that scanning for those problems is something women don’t enjoy. In fact, twenty-five percent of women avoid getting an annual mammogram due to anxiety or the fear of pain. For all women, Amy has good news. “GE Healthcare’s Senographe Pristina is a mammography system that was designed by women for women,” she shares. “We are so excited to bring this technology and comfort to Central Illinois. So far, our patients and referring physicians have had excellent feedback!”
The Pristina is a smaller unit than traditional mammography machines, designed for increased comfort. Its shape-adaptive paddles provide more of a custom fit for each woman’s breasts during the scan.
“Patients now have some control over the compression,” Amy adds. “They will be given a small remote that will allow them to add compression they feel they can handle. This is called ‘patient-assisted compression.’ The technologist will be right there to guide and supervise.”
Together, the patient, radiologist, and technologist are a more efficient and effective team, resulting in a much better patient experience and far-reduced levels of anxiety.
“In turn, the level of compression and superior 3D images this unit offers creates clarity for the radiologists reading the exam.” Better imaging also means there’s a much better chance at catching breast cancer earlier on.
ABUS (automated breast ultrasound), an additional screening tool, is designed to see through dense breast tissue, which about 40 percent of women are reported to have. By imaging the breast in “slices” under ultrasound, the ABUS allows physicians to see through dense tissue and better detect breast cancers earlier. For women with dense breasts, a mammogram and an ABUS used in conjunction is ideal.
Also provided at FJIC and Gale Keeran are ultrasound-guided core breast biopsies and breast cyst aspiration. Both are minimally invasive procedures in order to help physicians in detecting cancerous cells.
Whether you choose to come to FJIC or not, Amy insists women get that annual screening. “Mammograms save lives and are currently the best technology to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages when the chances for successful treatment are greatly improved,” she says. “So no more excuses! Schedule your annual breast examination with your health care provider and then remember to schedule your annual mammogram.”
Comfort is Always a Concern
Very few people actually enjoy getting diagnostic scans. The staffs at FJIC and the Gale Keeran Center for Women understand that. That is why both take patient comfort into mind at every step of the process.
With newly remodeled mammography suites and calming light and sounds, the centers “provide a calm, safe space for a more ‘intimate’ exam that can be embarrassing or nerve-racking for many patients,” says FJIC Administrator Melissa Marx.
Having two diagnostic units also means getting patients back to their normal day much faster. “The early morning and after work appointments tend to fill up fast, so having additional time slots will be helpful to offer those patients” Amy says. “Patients waiting for diagnostic exams are typically anxious, so having the mammo and ultrasound spots readily available is an important service. Eventually, we would like to work towards doing same-day diagnostic add-ons.”
You Have a Choice
When it comes to getting any sort of medical diagnostic scan, many patients do not realize they have a choice as to where to get said scan.
“When your doctor tells you that it’s time for a mammogram or you need an MRI, you can choose to come to Fort Jesse Imaging Center,” Amy points out. “We’re proud of our patient satisfaction scores. We deliver accurate results quickly and usually for about half the price of obtaining imaging services elsewhere.”
Those cost savings have definitely earned FJIC a positive reputation, earning them the McLean County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Excellence Award in 2015.
Ultimately, it’s about providing the best possible service to all those who need it—insured and uninsured. “We are here to serve,” says Amy. “Every year, we hold a fund-raiser called Breast in Show. The goal is to raise money so we can provide free mammograms to the uninsured patients of the Community Health Care Clinic.” This year alone, the fundraiser was able to provide mammograms for 33 patients who would have been otherwise unable to afford them.
Navigating the Seas
Our bodies are as variable as life beneath the waves of the sea. Unfortunately, the issues we can have with those bodies can be equally diverse and sometimes just as equally hidden. Fortunately, at the Fort Jesse Imaging Center and the Gale Keeran Center for Women are those with the equipment and expertise to find those issues.
“The modalities we offer can help patients (men and women), with everything from lower back pain and prostate issues to ultrasounds and PET scans,” Amy concludes. “Imaging is our specialty; it’s the only thing we do!”
Ft. Jesse Imaging & Gale Keeran Center for Women is here to fulfill our community’s diagnostic imaging needs, in a calm outpatient setting, with outpatient rates. With up-to-date technology, specialty trained radiologists, and ease of access, they strive to offer physicians and patients a superior experience. For more information call 309-454-5552, or visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FtJesseImaging or www.ftjesse.com. Located at 2200 Ft. Jesse Rd, Suite 120/130, Normal, IL 61761
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