Mammography program at Walkerton hospital reopens with new equipment

WALKERTON – A newly-renovated mammography suite with upgraded equipment and technology is now open at South Bruce Grey Health Centre’s (SBGHC) Walkerton hospital site.

The new Seno Pristina Digital Mammography System from GE Healthcare, featuring modern technologies that will allow for potential program enhancement, including tomosynthesis (3D anatomical view) and contrast enhanced mammography (injection of X-ray dye through an IV to highlight blood vessels), has replaced the previous equipment that has been in use since 2008.

In addition to technological advancements, hospital officials say the new equipment also has many features that will improve comfort and accessibility for patients and staff, including rounded edges and a heated surface, and expanded positioning of the machine.

The mammography program at the Walkerton hospital has been temporarily closed since Aug. 21 to complete renovations to enlarge the mammography suite to accommodate the new equipment. Patients were able to use the mammography machine at the Kincardine hospital while the Walkerton suite was under renovation, and backup was also provided by Hanover & District Hospital.

The total project cost of $485,000, including equipment and renovations, has been generously supported by the Walkerton and District Hospital Foundation.

“The members of the Walkerton and District Hospital Foundation’s Mammography Campaign are proud to support the purchase of the new mammography machine for our local hospital,” said Sharon Kramer-Dales and Janice Swanton, co-chairs of the Mammography Fundraising Committee.

“Although the new machine has now been installed, we are still in the process of raising funds to meet our financial commitment of $485,000. We are very privileged to have such a strong community support system that continues to allow us to provide our hospital with the most up-to-date essential equipment. Thank you to all who continue to support us in this campaign.”

Michael Barrett, SBGHC president and CEO, expressed the hospital’s gratitude to the Foundation for its financial support of this project.

“The advanced technology of this machine and many new features that it offers will enhance care for our patients, and make it easier for our diagnostic team to provide the great care that we have always provided,” said Barrett.

“We are proud to have this new piece of equipment in our hospital, and grateful for the significant contribution of the Walkerton and District Hospital Foundation to support this important service for the Walkerton community and surrounding area.”

The mammography program at the Walkerton hospital supports both the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) and the Breast Assessment Program (BAP), performing over 2,000 mammograms annually.

The OBSP provides routine screening for women between the ages of 50-74, across 160 locations in Ontario. Women can book their own appointment, regardless if they have a family physician, and are reminded by mail when they are due for their next screening. Both the participant and primary care provider receives screening results. The program will help to set up further testing if required.

The BAP provides follow-up testing for patients with concerning mammograms. Patients are called back for further mammographic images, an ultrasound and biopsy if required. Radiologist reviews images same day and will offer biopsy if needed.