Acadiana is filled with history, culture and places that exude small-town charm, but the region is also full of talented physicians employing cutting-edge technology in state-of-the-art hospital facilities. Whether you’re suffering from orthopedic problems, heart disease, cancer or any other ailment, Acadiana’s doctors and hospitals are at the forefront of medical care.
Local doctors are using the newest technology to do things like help patients monitor their high blood pressure remotely instead of visiting hospitals on a weekly basis. They are also using new radiotherapy systems to more accurately deliver radiation to cancerous tumors in all areas of the body. Not only are these treatments more precise, but they also are often done in shorter amounts of time than previous treatments.
New technology is available to more quickly detect strokes (where time lost equals brain lost) and allow doctors to better customize knee replacements for their individual patients. Surgical procedures like implanting a left atrial appendage closure are rescuing people from potentially fatal blood clots. The 3 Tesla MRI is providing clearer pictures than ever for patients undergoing MRIs.
Patients never want to go to the hospital. No one visits the doctor for fun. There will always be a level of anxiety and apprehension involved. But with all of the gifted physicians in Acadiana using the latest in surgical techniques and medical technology, the outlook is much brighter even for patients facing life’s most serious health problems. Now more than ever, patients can walk into hospitals with a feeling of hope for the future.
THIBODAUX REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
TrueBeam Radiotherapy System
A cancer diagnosis remains one of the scariest diagnoses any person can face. People often aren’t just scared of the cancer; the treatment options can be intimidating, too. For a long time, radiation therapy has been one of the primary forms of treatment for various cancers. At Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, doctors are using the TrueBeam Radiotherapy System to give patients the best treatment possible with the quickest speed and the fewest side effects.
Greg Stock, CEO for Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, said the hospital has been using the new TrueBeam system for about a year and a half. Stock likes a lot of features the TrueBeam offers. One is the ability of the machine to adjust to a person’s movement. While patients are told to be as still as possible during radiation treatments, it’s impossible for a person to be totally still. After all, people have to breathe, so the lungs will be moving during a treatment. The TrueBeam has an image guidance system that allows doctors to see in real time what they are radiating. It can adjust to even the smallest movements inside the patient while maintaining a high degree of accuracy in delivering the radiation.
“This machine is way more flexible than what was available in the past,” Stock said.
The accuracy is important for two reasons. One is because it allows doctors to do more damage to the tumors. The other is that it lets doctors radiate cancerous tissue without damaging the healthy tissue around it. In the past, cancer would be treated with a shotgun approach. Cancerous tissue and healthy tissue would end up receiving radiation. But the TrueBeam spares the healthy tissue. As a result, the patients require fewer treatments and suffer less pain and discomfort from them.
In some cases, tumors can be in extremely delicate positions. Stock remembered a patient at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center who had a tumor wrapped around her heart. In this case, the doctors had to be careful not to damage the heart while delivering radiation. The delivery was made more difficult by the fact that a beating heart moves. But the TrueBeam was able to radiate the tumor without damaging the patient’s heart.
At Thibodaux Regional, Stock said he and his doctors could not be happier with the TrueBeam.
“It puts us at the forefront of the fight against cancer,” Stock said.
The TrueBeam can treat common cancer types like head and neck, breast, lung, and prostate cancers. The system’s digital architecture allows for an intelligently-guided, automated workflow. It’s intuitive, making it easy for doctors to learn how to use it. It also allows doctors the flexibility to tailor treatment plans for each patient. No two cancers are identical and the TrueBeam allows the doctors to create treatment plans based on the patient’s specific needs. At Thibodaux Regional, doctors integrate the TrueBeam with the Eclipse treatment planning system to better manage their treatment workflows.
TruMatch Knee Replacement
At Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Nathan Cohen, MD was recently ranked No. 1 in the world for most knee replacements using TruMatch Technology developed by DePuy Orthopaedics.
In a press release, Lake Charles Memorial outlined the TruMatch process. Using a CT scan of the patient’s entire leg, 3-D images are constructed of the knee. Doctors can design the implant’s position on their computers accordingly. The plans are sent to DePuy, who constructs a 3-D print of the knee and sends sterilized cutting guides to the doctors.
Once the surgery begins, the guides are applied to the knee. After the doctor positions the new implant, the knee is closed. The result is extremely accurate, in part because all major decisions are made before the patient even enters the operating room. Not only is it accurate, it makes for shorter surgery times, too.
RAPID Technology for Stroke Detection
At Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, the hospital recently unveiled its latest tool in detecting and treating strokes. A press release from the hospital described its new RAPID technology as the most advanced brain imaging platform available.
In the past, most stroke patients received treatment within six hours of the onset of symptoms. RAPID allows doctors to expand the treatment window to up to 24 hours. The new technology gives radiologists a clearer visualization of the stroke. The allows for a more effective diagnosis.
Minutes matter with strokes and the faster data can be delivered to doctors, the better the outcome for the patients. Currently accepted practices for stroke diagnosis can take hours to complete, but RAPID technology lives up to its name by providing automated analysis in just minutes.
Hypofractionated Radiation for Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly occurring cancers in American men. Radiation therapy has long been a favored method of treating the disease. But at Oncologics Inc., Dr. Jonathan Thompson uses hypofractionated radiation to improve outcomes for his patients.
For a long time, radiation treatments for prostate cancer would last 8-9 weeks. With hypofractionated radiation, the patients receive a slightly higher, targeted dose. This shortens the duration of treatment to 4-5 weeks.
Dr. Thompson said the shortened time frame serves patients in many ways. Radiation is often successful in treating prostate cancer, but the frequent trips to the doctor are a big hassle. People have to take time off work to see the doctor. If they live in small towns, they may have to drive a long way to get to the hospital. By shortening the treatment time from 8-9 weeks to 4-5 weeks, doctors save patients time and money while still delivering top-notch results. This also saves insurance companies money, so it’s a win-win for all involved parties.
“It costs everyone less money,” Dr. Thompson said.
The treatment delivery is the same. A linear accelerator generates what are essentially super-charged x-rays that treat the targeted area. In the past, there could be some side effects with the radiation hitting not just the prostate, but other areas like the rectum. Dr. Thompson said these side effects are reduced with the use of the spaceOAR.
The spaceOAR is implanted behind the prostate and in front of the rectum. It separates one from the other, making it easier for the radiation to only hit the prostate. Even if a little radiation does reach the rectum, the added distance makes it a weaker dose. Overall, it reduces the chances of unpleasant side effects involving bowel movements.
The implantation is simple and only takes fifteen minutes. It does not limit patients’ activity. Dr. Thompson has been using it on his patients for a little over six months and is happy with the results.
“The differences have been very profound and I’ve recommended it to all of my patients,” Dr. Thompson said.
Dr. Thompson emphasized that the hypofractionated radiation, and the shorter treatment period that goes with it, is thoroughly endorsed by medical governing boards. The treatments have been studied in numerous trials.
“It [hypofractionated radiation] is a very well-supported national guideline,” Dr. Thompson said.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. In 2019, there will be an expected 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer and 31,620 deaths from prostate cancer. The biggest risk factors are age, race (African-American men are at greater risk for undetermined reasons), family history, and obesity. There may be no symptoms in the early stages, but trouble urinating and a decreased force in a urine stream are known symptoms.
3 Tesla MRI
West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital recently announced they would be using new 3 Tesla MRI technology.
The new tech provides exceptional anatomical detail on MRI scans on any part of the body. Not only does the 3 Tesla provide clearer pictures, it gets them faster than its predecessors. Anyone who has ever had an MRI can tell you it is no fun to be lying perfectly still in an MRI tube. By getting results quicker, the 3 Tesla reduces the amount of time a patient must spend in discomfort.
WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure
Christus Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital in Lake Charles successfully performed the first implant of the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device on a patient with atrial fibrillation in southwest Louisiana. In a press release, the hospital stated that the procedure offers an alternative to the lifelong use of Warfarin for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. The WATCHMAN closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage to keep blood clots that can form there from entering the bloodstream. If the clots were to get into the bloodstream, they could cause a stroke. The device is implanted in a one-time procedure. It does not need to be replaced and cannot be seen outside of the body.
WORKOUT MUSIC APPS
Most people can use a little extra motivation when working out. Often, that motivation comes from a killer workout playlist. The good news is there are now apps that can help you with your fitness music. FIT Radio, RockMyRun, and Spring Running Music are all worth checking out. They can help you find songs to match your individual running or workout tempo. They can also let you adjust the music based on your workout of choice, whether it’s running, yoga, or a session on an elliptical machine.
SHORT WORKOUT APPS
You’re busy, but you want to make the most of what little time you have to exercise. The 7-Minute Workout (by Wahoo Fitness) and The Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout are both designed for people looking for brief workouts. Whether you’re a fitness novice or you’re trying to cram in a short workout while traveling or navigating a hectic work week, these apps can help you maximize your workout in the limited time available to you.
Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery
Lafayette General Orthopaedic Hospital recently trumpeted its Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery for patients. In a press release, Lafayette General stated the new technology created better outcomes, fewer complications, and faster recovery times for patients. The arm does not perform the surgery, but serves as a precise, effective tool for surgeons.
The new tech helps surgeons create a plan for the procedure before it begins. It provides a detailed 3-D model that captures the patient’s unique anatomy. This is important because even though human joints are similar, there are thousands of tiny differences in each person’s bones, ligaments, cartilage and muscles.
The Mako enables surgeons to safely remove diseased parts of the joint while sparing the healthy tissue. It also assists in bone preparation to make sure the implant is properly positioned.
Annual Hospital Listing
1305 Crowley Rayne Hwy., Crowley
Allen Parish Hospital
108 Sixth Ave., Kinder
Oakdale Community Hospital
130 N. Hospital Drive, Oakdale
Our Lady of the Lake Ascension.
(St. Elizabeth changed name)
1125 W. Hwy., 30, Gonzales
Assumption Community Hospital
135 Hwy. 402, Napoleonville
Christus St. Patrick Hospital
524 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive, Lake Charles
Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
1701 Oak Park Blvd., Lake Charles
West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital
701 Cypress St., Sulphur
Mercy Regional Medical Center
800 E. Main St., Ville Platte
Savoy Medical Center
801 Poinciana Ave., Mamou
Iberia Medical Center
2315 E. Main St., New Iberia
Jennings American Legion Hospital
1634 Elton Road, Jennings
ST. JAMES PARISH
St. James Parish Hospital
1645 Lutcher Ave., Lutcher
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH
Ochsner Health Center – River Parishes
502 Rue de Santé, LaPlace
Heart Hospital of Lafayette
1105 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette
Lafayette General Medical Center
1214 Coolidge St., Lafayette
Lafayette General Surgical Hospital
1000 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette lafayettegeneral.com/our_facilities/main_facilities/lafayette_general_surgical_hospital.aspx. 337-289-8095
Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital
1101 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette
Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center
4801 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette
Park Place Surgical Hospital
4811 Ambassador Caffrey Pkwy., Lafayette
Lafayette General Orthopaedic Hospital
2810 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette
lafayettegeneral.com/location/lafayette-general-orthopaedic-hospital.aspx. 337-981 -2949
2390 W. Congress St., Lafayette
Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital
4600 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette
Lady of the Sea General Hospital
200 W. 134th Place, Cut Off
Ochsner St. Anne Hospital
4608 Hwy. 1, Raceland
Thibodaux Regional Medical Center
602 N. Acadia Road, Thibodaux
ST. CHARLES PARISH
St. Charles Parish Hospital
1057 Paul Maillard Road, Luling
ST. LANDRY PARISH
Opelousas General Health System
539 E. Prudhomme St., Opelousas
ST. MARTIN PARISH
St. Martin Hospital
210 Champagne Blvd., Breaux Bridge
ST. MARY PARISH
Franklin Foundation Hospital
1097 Northwest Blvd., Franklin
Teche Regional Medical Center
1125 Marguerite St., Morgan City
Physicians Medical Center
218 Corporate Drive, Houma
physicianshouma.com. 985- 853-1390
Terrebonne General Medical Center
8166 W. Main St., Houma
Abbeville General Hospital
118 N. Hospital Dr., Abbeville
Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital
1310 W. 7th St., Kaplan