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Interventional Radiology Biplane Suite at North Oaks First in Gulf South

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Melanie Lanaux Zaffuto
Interventional Radiology Biplane Suite at North Oaks First in Gulf South

North Oaks Medical Center’s new, highly specialized Interventional Radiology Biplane Suite is the first of its kind in the Gulf South to offer advanced technology to streamline care for stroke, heart, trauma and cancer patients.

Strategically located near the hospital’s Emergency Department, the $2.5 million, 1500-square-foot suite took 10 months to construct and is powered by the Siemens Artis Q biplane unit.

North Oaks Interventional Radiologists Sean Gipson, M.D., Laura Leonards, M.D., and Zachary Liner, M.D., harness the biplane’s imaging capabilities to guide minimally invasive procedures designed to diagnose, treat and cure a variety of conditions.

The Artis Q’s two rotating cameras are positioned on each side of the patient making it possible to capture highly detailed 2D and 3D images of blood vessels, tissue and blood flow in the brain, arteries and spine from multiple angles at once with one single injection of contrast dye.

“These real-time images combine diagnosis and treatment into one procedure with unprecedented precision,” explains Liner. “This saves precious minutes in time-sensitive situations, lessens patient risk, radiation exposure and pain, involves smaller incisions than surgery, reduces the visibility of scarring, and supports quicker recovery.

“Using the unparalleled imaging detail provided by our biplane, we can detect and treat stroke, aneurysms, hardening of the arteries and other vascular and neurological conditions without antiquated, invasive surgical techniques. This technology further enhances the care we already deliver as a Primary Stroke and Level II Trauma Center,” Liner asserts.

In 2018, North Oaks Medical Center became the only facility on the Northshore performing intracranial mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure to pull blood clots from blocked vessels inside the brain using image-guided catheters and a wire cage device, called a stent retriever. The catheter is threaded through an artery in the groin up to the blockage in the brain. The stent retriever is then deployed through the clot and removed with the captured clot through the catheter that was placed in the artery.

“Time is brain, which means that the faster we can restore blood flow to the brain, the more likely a person is to regain motor and cognitive functions after a stroke or onset of other neurological situations,” asserts Liner. “Before the acquisition of the biplane, we were using a single plane unit. We’ve been able to achieve excellent outcomes with the single plane unit, but having the biplane introduces technology that supports the highest and most efficient level of care. It also enables us to offer even more ways to care for our patients in minimally invasive ways.”

Aneurysm coiling is another neurological procedure that will be enhanced by the comprehensive brain imagery that the biplane provides. Like thrombectomy, a steerable catheter is inserted into the bloodstream from the groin and guided to the brain. Using this technique, tiny coils are deployed to fill the aneurysm and activate clotting to seal it off, prevent rupture and save lives.

"In addition to stroke and neurological treatment, the biplane unit will be utilized for cancer staging and therapies here at North Oaks," Liner adds. "Our advanced targeted approach to cancer treatment is unparalleled as seen in our approach to chemotherapy, which is now delivered directly to tumors, as opposed to an oral pill or IV therapies."

The biplane’s purchase was funded in part by a North Oaks Foundation Giving Campaign launched in September 2018. Nearly $200,000 was raised by the foundation toward the purchase of the $1.8 million biplane.

Major gifts were received from First Guaranty Bank, who committed the first $100,000 to the biplane’s purchase, as well as the Northshore Home Builders Association through its Raising the Roof for Charity Foundation, Alton and Terri Lewis and Bracy’s Nursery, LLC.

“We are grateful to the North Oaks Foundation and its board of directors for taking a leadership role in helping to raise the funds necessary to purchase the biplane,” asserts North Oaks Health System President/Chief Executive Officer Michele Sutton, FACHE. “We thank everyone, including our employees and volunteers, who donated and invested in the health of Tangipahoa Parish.”