Houma Headache and Pain Center a research source for GE’s cutting-edge technology

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s North Hospital project complete
October 20, 2006
Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s North Hospital project complete
October 20, 2006

The Headache and Pain Center, AMC, in Houma became the first facility in the United State to install a new, state-of-the-art open magnetic resonance imaging unit from General Electric.

The GE Signa Ovation is equipped with the most advanced software to date, and the center is being utilized as a research location for the new technology, a company spokeswoman said.

“It can do anything an MRI machine can do and also take MRAs (magnetic resonance n angiography),” the center’s Director of Business Development Erika Rodrigue said. An MRA is used to create images of the circulatory system.

The machine was installed in July and has been used to diagnose about 50 patients a month, she said.

The Ovation improves the center’s ability to diagnose and treat pain by producing clearer and more precise images than other open MRIs, according to Rodrigue. The software used to operate the Ovation is more like that used in closed MRIs, which creates much better images, she noted.

The first Ovation was installed in Beijing, China. The Headache and Pain Center is only the second facility in the world to use the technology, Rodrigue said.

Headache and Pain Center physician Jimmy Ponder explained that the actual machinery of the Ovation is not new technology, but the software used to run it is revolutionary.

“It just so happened that we were ordering this piece of equipment while they were coming out with a new version of the software,” he said. “They asked us if we would be a research source for them.”

As a research source, the Headache and Pain Center is required to send weekly reports to GE Electric the first six weeks, Ponder said. After six weeks, GE Medical can still get reports from the Center’s computers.

Currently, the Ovation is only Headache and Pain Center patients, but it will be open to other facilities when time permits, said Rodrigue.

MRI is a method used to visualize the inside of living organisms. It is primarily used to demonstrate pathological or other pychological deseases of living tissues and is a commonly used form of medical imaging.

Justin Martin can be reached at (985) 876-3008 or justin@tri-parishtimes.com.