New technologies at Shelby Baptist Medical Center improve services

Published 1:24 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer 

ALABASTER – Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster recently acquired a number of new technologies to help improve each patient’s care and experience.

Shelby Baptist recently acquired three new pieces of technology including a Mako Robotic Surgery System, Siemens 256-slice CT scanner and a Philips Azurion.

“We’re extremely excited to have these advances in medical technology at Shelby,” said Shelby CEO Holly Dean. “We are committed to providing the highest quality care possible here at Shelby, and these enhancements will certainly help us do that.”

Shelby Baptist purchased a new Siemens 256 Slice CT Scanner and installed it for use on Sept. 25.

“The 256 is the latest and greatest piece of equipment out there for CT scanners,” said Diane Baribeau, imaging director for Shelby Baptist. “We are now able to do a complete imaging of the heart in less than seven seconds.”

The 256-slice CT scanner is a piece of advanced diagnostic imaging equipment that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body in both horizontal and vertical directions. The device is capable of capturing three-dimensional images of the entire heart in only two heartbeats.

Previously, the staff was hindered in getting patients through due to the slowness of the old machine and the need to medically lower a patient’s heart rate.

“We’re able to do more procedures because it’s a faster machine,” Baribeau said.  “So, for heart studies, there has been a big, big increase. We’re able to do a noncontrast CT stroke patient in probably three seconds.”

After working with the device for around a month, Baribeau said the state-of-the-art device helped the department expedite the process.

“It makes it easier on the techs to get the patient in position and for the radiologist to perform studies based on us having new equipment here that can do things that previous equipment wasn’t able to do,” Baribeau said.

Orthopedics surgery at the hospital will soon benefit from the addition of a new Mako Robotic Surgery System.

“It is meant for aiding surgeons replacing knees and hips,” said Paula Pool, surgical services director for Shelby Baptist Medical Center. “The Mako is exactly like a navigation system. Just like if you put your address in your navigation system in your car, it takes you directly to that address instead of you making a bunch of turns you didn’t need to make.”

For the procedure, a CAT scan is loaded onto the device’s navigational program and the device will allow the surgeon to only make the precise cuts to the joint that are for the placement of implants.

According to Pool, the Mako has been known to make a patient’s recovery much quicker because there are less unnecessary cuts to the joint space.

“We’re really excited about it,” Pool said. “Mako technology has been around for a long time. Our surgeons are very interested in that and have already been trained up on all of that and they are in the process of defining what patient base would be best for having the procedure done.”

The hospital’s catheterization laboratory, or cath lab, has also benefitted from a new piece of technology—a Philips Azurion machine.

“It has new cardiac advanced technology that is going to better serve our population,” said Crystal Holtzapfel, the cath lab manager for non-invasive and invasive cardiology.

The new device has lower radiation exposure for patients and staff and better image quality thanks to stent boost technology.

“It also has a CT scanner on it,” Holtzapfel said. “If we wanted to take some nice pictures of the neck or head arteries, we could do that without having to take the patient off the table.”

The department has already made use of the Philips Azurion and started using it with patients starting on Oct. 17.

“The procedures are quicker, everybody is impressed as they’re looking at the monitors, the images are huge—(it makes it) a lot easier to see what we’re working on,” Holtzapfel said.

All of the new technologies at the Shelby Baptist Medical Center assist the nurses, doctors and staff in delivering a high-quality service at a fast pace.

“We’re incredibly proud to bring this technology to Shelby,” Dean said. “We want residents of Alabaster and the surrounding community to know that they don’t have to leave town to benefit from advanced medical technology. It’s available to them right here at home, and were proud to be the hospital that offers it.”