CT scanning at Helena Imaging Center is the only American College of Radiology approved and certified CT available in the city. ACR accreditation, which is only achieved with great effort, requires certification of the lowest possible dose and highest image quality by physicists and the American College of Radiology, it requires all imaging be performed by certified, licensed technologists, and it requires constant rechecks on the equipment and personnel to assure quality. The American College of Radiology also guarantees that the interpreting radiologists are board-certified and trained in the United States.
Helena Imaging Center offers full body and neuroimaging with a dedicated 16-slice General Electric CT system. Although this system is capable of cardiac imaging, this is not a dedicated cardiac system as is available in most hospitals and is therefore optimized for lower radiation dose with higher image quality. Because of the delicate use of CT in neuroimaging, this system allows spiral acquisition with an angled position for imaging of the head and neck, as well as imaging of instrumentation of the spine. The ability to angulate and perform volume acquisitions results in higher quality images which are simply not possible on other any machinery within the town.
Radiation dose has become a major issue in CT scanning and the 16-slice imager is optimized for the lowest dose at the highest quality. Subsequent developments in CT were dedicated to cardiac imaging, that being 64, 128, 256, and 380-slice imagers which were developed specifically for faster imaging of the heart with little to no attention to x-ray dose. Our machine is dedicated for body and neuroimaging and is not specifically defined for cardiac imaging, thus it avoids the need for the extensive x-ray production. This is basically the difference between observing the area around you with a flashlight versus a spotlight 10 feet across. X-ray dose is very similar to the lights, and one can easily understand the accompanying difference in dose.