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New Ulm Medical Center

Radiology: illuminating the path to treatment

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That old adage could very well be the motto at New Ulm Medical Center's (NUMC) radiology department.

The department and its imaging services are involved in nearly every specialty and subspecialty at the medical center by helping to detect problems and deliver treatment.

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Radiologist Nate Groebner, MD prepares to perform a paracentesis (removing fluid from the belly) on a patient recently in the New Ulm Medical Center Radiology Department. During the procedure, Groebner uses ultrasound to help guide the needle to the correct location. It’s just one of the many procedures that are performed in the department on a regular basis.

"This imaging technology has really allowed much more accurate and quicker diagnosis of health problems,” said Nathan Groebner, M.D., a radiologist at NUMC.

“It allows us to direct treatment more precisely to people's conditions. The precision, speed, accuracy and safety of these procedures offer the greatest benefits to patients."

The radiology department provides a full spectrum of advanced diagnostic imaging. These include CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, and nuclear medicine. The staff conducts nearly 3,000 procedures each month.

In addition to diagnostic services, many of the imaging techniques are used during minimally invasive surgical procedures. In fact, Dr. Groebner said today's imaging technology helps prevent the need for more complicated surgery.

For example, a common procedure done at the radiology department is an image-guided biopsy. During the procedure, an ultrasound or CT scan is used to guide a small needle through the skin to take a tissue sample for further testing. The imaging technology allows a doctor to be extremely precise. This helps forgo the need for a larger incision, the doctor noted.

The imaging services are used with therapeutic procedures as well. For instance, real-time X-rays are used for patients receiving spinal injections for severe back pain. Such a procedure must be extremely precise because the treatment area is only a couple of millimeters wide. With real-time X-rays, a doctor can see exactly where the needle goes as he or she is moving it.

The radiology department performs preventive procedures too. These include mammograms to screen for breast cancer and cardiac calcium scoring CT scans to screen for heart disease risk.

In the past year, the department has strengthened its efforts to reduce patients' exposure to radiation. The goal is to produce the most accurate image possible using the least amount of radiation, Dr. Groebner said.

NUMC’s radiology services and staff are available around the clock.

"We have a great team here," Dr. Groebner said. "We enjoy what we do. We're happy we can help make a difference in our community."

To learn more about New Ulm Medical Center's radiology department, select this link.