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Updated 10:00 AM October 31, 2007




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Regents approve medical imaging equipment and facilities

In the last five years the demand for advanced medical imaging and image-guided procedures has increased dramatically across the U-M Health System, as physicians harness the power of imaging to diagnose and treat a broad range of medical problems in adults and children.

Following approval by the Board of Regents, UMHS will launch a $42.9 million expansion of its facilities for medical imaging and image-guided procedures.

By the time the projects are completed in 2008 and early 2009, the expansion will give more patients faster access to UMHS radiology services, including some available at few other medical centers across the country. It also will allow U-M radiologists to continue developing new techniques as part of a nationally known research program.

At the Oct. 25 meeting, regents approved $32.7 million worth of radiology facilities, including CT and MRI, interventional radiology and breast imaging. The projects will be funded entirely from U-M Hospitals and Health Centers reserves, without direct funding from the state or the University's general fund. The additional scanners also will need approval from the State of Michigan Certificate of Need committee.

The new projects add to one approved by regents in July: a $10.2 million plan to move nuclear cardiology facilities from University Hospital to the Cardiovascular Center (CVC).

The projects approved last week include a major expansion of facilities for interventional neuroradiology, a kind of brain surgery without surgery. The technique allows doctors to see and repair the tiniest blood vessels in the brain and spine, giving them the ability to treat strokes, aneurysms, blood-vessel malformations and more.

Also approved were two new CT (computed tomography) scanners and one new MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner in University Hospital, and a breast-imaging and stereotactic biopsy area in the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC).

"We're investing in capital equipment projects that will allow us to stay on the cutting edge of rapidly evolving medical technology, improve patient access and advance our researchers' studies of new imaging techniques," says Dr. N. Reed Dunnick, the Fred Jenner Hodges Professor and chair of the Department of Radiology. "The expansions will help us respond to the growing demand for imaging and interventional procedures, and be ready for further growth in coming years."

The projects include:

• Interventional Neuroradiology and CT: This project, on level B1 of University Hospital, will involve renovation of 6,600 square feet of space previously occupied by cardiology services. The total cost of $21.1 million includes the creation of three new treatment suites, one of which will include a hybrid system combining a CT scanner as well as biplane imaging — the first of its kind in the country and a major advance for treating some conditions. Two new 64-slice CT scanners also will be installed in this area for imaging all parts of the body.

• Nuclear Cardiology: The $10.2 million project will allow heart patients to receive their treadmill stress tests and other nuclear-medicine exams in the new Cardiovascular Center, closer to where their physician appointments and other tests are located. The new facility will be on CVC level 1, in approximately 15,000 square feet of currently empty space. It will include three of the world's first combination SPECT/CT machines for heart imaging.

• Magnetic resonance imaging: This project, on level B2 of University Hospital, will add one more MRI machine to the four currently located there, and expand other facilities in the area. The total cost is $8 million, including equipment and renovation of 6,000 square feet.

• Breast Imaging: The $3.6 million project will renovate 2,400 square feet on level B2 of the CCC, to expand the existing breast-imaging facilities.

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