Diagnostic Technology

Leading Edge Diagnostics and Treatments

A wide variety of surgical services are provided at Morton Plant North Bay Hospital on an outpatient basis. This includes some of the most current diagnostic testing and medical treatment services available today:

  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Lithotripsy - Kidney Stone Busters
  • Capsule Endoscopy

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

Considered by many to be the new standard of care in determining the stage of breast cancer, sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is an outpatient procedure available at Morton Plant North Bay Hospital.

In the past when it came to invasive breast cancer, doctors would typically remove as many of the under arm, or axillary, lymph nodes as possible to determine the extent to which the cancer had spread. This approach required extensive surgery and sometimes led to complications including lymphedema (fluid buildup in the arm), infection and numbness.

But that’s no longer needs to be the case.

The sentinel lymph node is the first lymph node to which cancer is likely to spread from a primary tumor. If the biopsy is done and the sentinel node does not contain cancer cells, the rest of the regional lymph nodes may not need to be removed – and removing fewer lymph nodes means fewer side effects for the patient. In addition, the presence or absence of cancer in the lymph nodes of the armpit is important in determining future treatment.

How SLN biopsy is done

  • To identify the sentinel lymph node, the surgeon injects a radioactive solution or a blue, harmless dye into the tumor area.
  • The lymphatic system takes the dye or solution to the lymph nodes.
  • The surgeon uses a scanner to find the first node that picks up the solution, which is the sentinel node.
  • A small incision is made and the SLN is removed and checked for cancer cells.
  • If the node is cancer-free, no additional nodes are removed.

Sentinel Lymph Node biopsy represents our commitment at Morton Plant North Bay Hospital to bringing leading edge medical techniques close to home for the people in our community.

Kidney Stone “Busters” – Lithotripsy Treatment

For anyone who has ever passed a kidney stone, the experience is one that is never forgotten.

The pain associated with a kidney stone is caused when the stone breaks lose and makes its way from the kidney to the bladder. With the help of plenty of water, many times stones pass on through the urinary tract on their own. Often times, however, additional intervention is needed.

While treatment varies depending on the type and cause of the stone, a non-invasive procedure for breaking down kidney stones is available through Morton Plant North Bay. It’s called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, and it involves the use of shock waves to break the stones in to tiny pieces that can be passed naturally by the body. Here’s basically how it works:

  • After being partially submerged in a tub of water, the patient hears a loud noise each time a stone crushing machine, called a lithotripter, generates a shock wave.
  • The shock wave is transmitted harmlessly through the skin, into the soft tissue, the kidney, and then the stone.
  • Earphones are used to protect the patient’s hearing.
  • Anesthesia may be necessary to control the pain, depending on the size and density of the stone and the energy of the shock wave needed to break it up.
  • Patients do not feel the shock waves, themselves.
  • Doctors use X-rays or ultrasound to help monitor the status of the stone during treatment.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is one of the most commonly used surgical procedures for treating kidney stones without the risk of complications from more invasive surgery alternatives.

It’s a method more and more doctors and patients are choosing to turn the pain of kidney stones into nothing but a memory.

Patient-Friendly Procedure for Diagnosis of Small Intestine Conditions

When it comes to examining the small intestine, Morton Plant North Bay provides a procedure that is painless, non-invasive, and sedation-free. Called capsule endoscopy, it is the only method currently available that allows visualization of the entire, 21-foot small intestine. It is used in addition to a colonoscopy to diagnose a number of conditions including gastrointestinal bleeding that is not evident during a colonoscopy. Here’s how it works:

  • The patient swallows a vitamin-sized pill that houses technology similar to a wireless video camera.
  • The capsule transmits color images as it moves through the gastrointestinal tract.
  • The patient continues with normal activities as images are transmitted to a data recording device worn on the waist.
  • Several hours later, the patient returns to our outpatient facility and the data is downloaded to a computer and analyzed.
  • The pill passes on its own.

At Morton Plant North Bay Hospital, we believe making the most current technology and techniques available to our patients is important. Capsule endoscopy is the most effective tool available for the detection of abnormalities of the small bowel.