San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

An image from a CT scan depicts a huge tumor. CTMC’s new 16-slice CT scan can detect a lesion as small as two millimeters wide.


Central Texas Medical Center has secured access to an advanced PET/CT system that officials say is on par with technology used at MD Anderson Cancer Center and other elite medical operations.

The device — a 16-slice CT scan capable of three-dimensional, high-definition images — is accurate enough to detect a 2-3 millimeter lesion, as much as three times more accurate than PET/CT the hospital was using. The machine will enable physicians to detect some illnesses earlier, hospital officials said.

“PET/CT increases the accuracy of diagnostic imaging and has great potential to provide useful information for patients and physicians,” said Sam Huenergard, CTMC president and chief executive officer.

PET/CT is utilized in the detection and treatment of cancer to determine the location and extent of tumor growth and in neurology to aid in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke, brain tumors, and seizures. PET/CT is also used in cariology to determine the viability of the heart.

CTMC patients will have access to the technology through a mobile unit offered by Northern Shared Medical Services Inc. that will visit the hospital’s Wonder World Drive campus every Thursday.

The new PET/CT equipment is part of CTMC efforts under Huenergard and his predecessor to upgrade its health care technological capabilities. Improvements include:

  • In August 2010, CTMC joined the elite ranks of 5 percent of hospitals in the United States with the launch of Computerized Prescriber Order Entry, which is the latest phase of electronic medical record technology.
  • In March 2011, the hospital purchased a GE Essential Digital Mammography System, offering the high quality imaging required for early breast cancer detection.
  • In 2011, CTMC became the first hospital in Hays County to offer a fully interactive mobile phone application for iPhone and Android devices. MyCTMC allows users to reach their physician in an instant, view events at CTMC, follow the latest CTMC news and more.
  • This year, Live Oak Health Partners, CTMC’s primary and specialty care physician group, began offering balloon sinuplasty surgery to provide relief for severe allergies. The endoscopic procedure uses a small, flexible balloon catheter to enlarge sinus passageways and can typically be conducted in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia.
  • In May 2012, the first da Vinci robotic surgery procedure was completed at CTMC. More than 50 gynecological, urological and general surgical cases have been completed robotically to date. The hospital is the first in Hays County to invest in a da Vinci surgery suite, making CTMC the only operating room between Austin and San Antonio to offer robotic surgery.
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