KBRH celebrates new digital mammography program

The KBRH Health Foundation rang in 25 years with an open house Monday.

The KBRH Health Foundation rang in 25 years with an open house Monday to celebrate the new digital stereotactic diagnostic mammography service, as well as other diagnostic imaging improvements at the Trail Hospital.

About 80 people turned up to hear from elected officials and professionals representing the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) Health Foundation and Interior Health (IH) and to take a tour of the improved department.

“In our 25th anniversary year, the KBRH Health Foundation is very proud to bring digital stereotactic mammography to KBRH,” said Lisa Pasin, director of development at the KBRH Hospital Foundation. “The Digital Mammography Campaign raised $795,000 in 22 months, due to the generosity and commitment of our donor groups, which included corporations, service clubs, auxiliaries and individuals.

“With completion of the campaign, we are supporting patients and families who live and work throughout the Kootenay Boundary by providing the gold standard of medical imaging right here in our community.”

A mammography exam is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women, a process that is expedited with digital equipment.

This advancement in diagnostic imagining means fewer invasive procedures and less travel outside the area for patients and their families.

Digital diagnostic mammography service began in Trail in October, replacing the previous film-based analog equipment. The new technology offers the benefit of having results that are immediately accessible through a computer archive and also offers a much clearer, crisp result.

“We knew the digital was going to be much bigger but we didn’t anticipate that it would be so much bigger,” said Dr. Elsabe Steenkamp, medical director of diagnostic imaging at KBRH. “You want to look back on the television screen you had 12 years ago and you want to compare that to the high definition screens you see today, that’s the difference.”

The new equipment and technology will also allow KBRH radiologists to perform stereotactic core needle biopsies in Trail. With stereotactic capability, the biopsy happens right in the mammography room, not the operating room. The biopsy is less invasive because the instrument is a needle, not a scalpel, according to x-ray technician Charmaine Evdokimoff.

Advantages of stereotactic capability include: quicker diagnosis, no general anesthetic, no stitches, less scarring, faster recovery time, and faster, more reliable diagnosis.

Monday’s open house was also an opportunity to celebrate other recent investments in the hospital’s diagnostic imaging department, which includes a new ultrasound machine and ultrasound stretcher, a new 64-slice CT scanner, CT scan and MRI work stations, and a cardiac ultrasound computer system. Over the past two years, about $1.6 million has been invested in this department.

“The great work our clinicians do for people in this region continues to be acknowledged through the incredible generosity of local residents and the dedication of the KBRH Health Foundation,” said Norman Embree, IH board chair.

“These partnerships continue to support Interior Health in providing quality care to our local communities.”

The Foundation’s revenue is generated through donations from private and corporate donors.

Funding priorities include raising endowed gifts and annual funds to support health care equipment needs, staff education, and special initiative to enhance health care through the Trail hospital and other Kootenay Boundary health care facilities.

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