Imaging Central, a locally owned and operated outpatient imaging center located at 7111 W. Central Ave. in Toledo, takes pride in offering convenient access to advanced diagnostic imaging services in a comfortable, inviting environment. The service-oriented team at Imaging Central also embraces a patient-focused care philosophy that respects their time and makes them feel welcome.
Radiologist Murray Howe, MD, Director of Musculoskeletal Radiology and Sports Medicine Imaging for Toledo Radiological Associates and Imaging Central, notes, “Our forte is being ‘light on our feet.’ Our facility is readily accessible with close-in parking, and we schedule patients to get in for imaging tests much more rapidly than hospitals usually can. That’s especially helpful for the sports medicine injuries I commonly see. Getting these patients in and out quickly gets them on the road to recovery and back in the game much faster.”
Also, Imaging Central offers sub-specialized interpretation of imaging, so, for example, all neuromuscular and sports medicine imaging is interpreted by radiologists who are experts in reading those types of studies, which gives sports medicine physicians and surgeons a high degree of confidence in the results.
Of course, the team of professionals at Imaging Central couldn’t produce such dependable diagnostic studies without the very latest in imaging technology. The facility not only utilizes a state-of-the-art open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit but was also the first in our region to offer a hybrid positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) unit, which fuses PET and CT scan images together. This technology not only lights up abnormalities within the body but also pinpoints the anatomic location of abnormalities so the radiologist can see precisely where they are in space.
Dr. Howe says that PET/CT technology is most commonly used for cancer imaging. “For example, if a chest x-ray reveals a nodule in a patient’s lung, we can use PET/CT to look at the nodule and with great accuracy determine whether it’s cancer or not and whether a biopsy is warranted. This helps us prevent a lot of unnecessary lung biopsies. And if it turns out that the patient does have cancer, we can determine exactly where in the body it has spread,” he remarks.
Imaging Central is on the leading edge not just when it comes to imaging technology, but also with respect to the agents they use as tracers. Dr. Howe explains that PET/CT is traditionally done using a radioactive glucose molecule tracer. Like all tissues, cancer takes up glucose, but most cancers are more metabolically active than normal tissue, so they take up more glucose. Thus, they light up in the imaging studies, revealing areas where tumors have spread. Glucose tracer is also commonly used in diagnostic imaging of patients with Alzheimer’s, which has a very characteristic pattern of glucose uptake.
In addition to glucose, Imaging Central uses two new agents in conjunction with PET/CT scanning. One of these is related to a research study that Imaging Central is participating in called the IDEAS (Imaging Dementia—Evidence for Amyloid Scanning) Study. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the clinical value of looking at brain amyloid deposition (versus brain metabolism using glucose) in diagnosing and caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
The other new agent Imaging Central uses is a tracer called Axumin for patients with prostate cancer. “Up until recently, PET didn’t play a major role in imaging these patients because prostate cancer isn’t as metabolically active as most cancers and, therefore, doesn’t take up glucose the same way. Axumin changes all that,” Dr. Howe explains. “It’s not used for primary diagnosis of prostate cancer, but for determining whether the cancer has recurred based on an elevated PSA level following prior treatment. Axumin is also very helpful in determining where the cancer has spread outside the prostate gland.”
Given all the exciting technological advances taking place, Dr. Howe is enthusiastic about the direction of diagnostic imaging and the many ways Imaging Central can benefit patients. “It’s a very exciting time to be practicing in this field,” he says. “Technological breakthroughs are taking place on an almost daily basis, allowing us to diagnose and treat patients better than ever before.”❦