New Interventional Radiology Suite features Wyoming’s first bi-plane imaging
By Kristy Bleizeffer Feb 18, 2020
Wyoming Medical Center will open the first phase of its new Interventional Radiology Suite later this month, bringing medical technology and treatments to Casper that you won’t find anywhere else in the state.
The 7,145-square-foot suite is located in the first floor of the Center Tower, in the old cafeteria and kitchen. Phase one includes two new post-anesthesia patient rooms, support areas for patients and families and a new biplane fluoroscopy device. This digital x-ray has two rotating cameras that produce the most detailed 3D images currently available to physicians in real-time, allowing for greater precision, less radiation exposure and smaller incisions. We are the first and only hospital in Wyoming to use this cutting-edge technology.
“This technology will help us grow the service line for cancer patients, acute arterial occlusion patients, trauma patients, stroke patients, you name it. The sky is the limit,” said Charles Bowkley III, MD, a neurointerventional radiologist at Casper Medical Imaging and Wyoming Medical Center.
The bi-plane will streamline care for heart, stroke and cancer patients, while allowing us to offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement for the first time in the state.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive treatment of severe aortic stenosis, a serious narrowing of the aortic valve that can be fatal if not treated. That aortic valve is replaced through a catherization procedure rather than an open-heart procedure. TAVR is less invasive than open-heart surgery, reducing recovery time.
Currently, patients have to leave the state for this life-saving procedure. With the bi-plane, we will be the first and only hospital in Wyoming performing TAVR.
Wyoming Medical Center is the only hospital in the state that can perform mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure to pull blood clots from blocked vessels inside the brain. Through our TeleStroke Wyoming program, we have partnered with hospitals around the state to identify patients who would benefit from this treatment and transport them to Wyoming Medical Center in time.
The bi-plane will speed up treatment while the new suite will provide room for more patients from across the state.
“Time is brain, which means that the faster we can restore blood flow to the brain, the more likely a person is to have a good recovery after a stroke,” said David B. Wheeler, MD, PhD, FAAN, FAES, FAHA, medical director of WMC’s Primary Stroke Center. “Before this renovation, we were using the same interventional radiology equipment that we were using when I got here 15 years ago. We’ve maintained a high level of excellence despite that, but this puts in place equipment that supports the highest level of care.”
The second phase of the project will include a new CT scanner with CT fluoroscopy capabilities which will further enhance our ability to treat cancer patients from across the state.
A cancerous tumor in your kidney, lung or liver used to mean invasive surgery and operative removal of the tumor. Now, interventional radiologists can use cutting-edge technology to freeze or burn some of these tumors with pinpoint accuracy, often without an overnight hospital stay. In many cases, these minimally invasive procedures are better, safer, cheaper and faster with shorter recovery times and less complications. The IR suite and new CT equipment will enhance and expand access to these cutting-edge treatments.
“Historically speaking, if you had a tumor in your kidney, lung or liver, a surgeon would either take out all or a portion of the affected organ which is associated with long, painful recoveries and risk of complications,” said Eric Cubin, MD, medical director of the new suite and an interventional radiologist at Casper Medical Imaging and Wyoming Medical Center.
“Now, using interventional radiology and image guidance, we’re able to put a probe directly through the skin into a tumor and destroy the tumor using thermal energy. We can either freeze the tumor or we can literally boil it right in place. Patients frequently go home from the hospital the same day. The vast majority of these patients are cured of their cancer in one day, with one procedure, having never been cut open.”
Exceptional care, close to home, requires highly-trained medical specialists and a dedicated team of healthcare professionals. It also requires the latest technology and medical equipment. This project gives more Wyoming patients access to cutting-edge, life-saving treatments, close their family and friends, without traveling across state lines. Bringing state-of-the-art equipment and procedures is vital to the WMC mission: “To advance the health and wellness of our region by providing excellent healthcare services and exceptional experience at reasonable costs.”
Dr. Cubin is a general and interventional radiologist with Casper Medical Imaging (CMI) and Wyoming Medical Center as well as medical director of the Interventional Radiology Suite. He is board certified in diagnostic radiology. Dr. Cubin grew up in Casper and joined the team at CMI in 2010. He loves the outdoors and enjoys bow hunting, fishing, backpacking and competitive shooting.
Dr. Bowkley is a neurointerventional radiologist and Wyoming Medical Center’s 2017 Physician of the Year. He is board certified in diagnostic and vascular / interventional radiology. He practices at Casper Medical Imaging in Casper.
Dr. Wheeler is board certified in neurology, epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology. He is a Rhodes Scholar and the 2019 American Heart Association Physician of the Year. He serves on the boards for Wyoming Dementia Care and the American Heart Association (Southwest Affiliate.) He is director of the Wyoming Epilepsy Center and medical director of the Wyoming Medical Center Primary Stroke Center. He practices at Wyoming Neurologic Associates.