Neuroscience center holds grand opening in southern Utah

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ST. GEORGE - It’s a medical milestone for southern Utah; Dixie Regional Medical Center showed off their neuroscience center to the public Thursday.

Neurosurgeons have been performing brain surgery there for about a year now, but on Thursday administrators celebrated the grand opening, showing off some of that high-tech equipment and educating the public on one of the human body’s most complex organs.

Members of the community got an up-close look at some of the most advanced technology in brain imaging. The Bi-Plane is used to take a 3D picture of the brain. There are only three in the country.

“It’s an integrated program, bringing together a number of pieces and parts of the neurological system,” said DRMC Neuroscience program director Marls Shelby-Drabner. “We have neurosurgeons. We work with neurologists.  We have orthopedic spine surgery.”

Shelby-Drabner said they’re trying to follow a comprehensive care model, meaning they’ll have a variety of specialties under one roof, making it easier and faster for neurological patients to get medical treatment.

“Stroke services, time is brain, time is critical with a stroke,” Shelby-Drabner said. “The goal is to keep everything possible right here in Dixie, and in a year or so, we’ll be there, so that you don’t have to travel out of area to have a spine surgery for instance.”

The community also got hands-on learning with a giant, blow-up replica of the brain. It showed what happens during common neurological disease, like a stroke or an aneurism.  Members of the public who toured the facility said they’re impressed with how far medicine has come, and that it’s now so readily accessible.

“I hope I don’t have to use it,” St. George resident David Hmielewski said. “But it’s great to know that the technology and the equipment is here in town to make people better.”

Program directors said the next part of the Dixie Regional Medical Center plan is to integrate the Neuroscience center with other programs at the hospital. When they all work together, the hospital will be able to seek certification to become a level II trauma center.

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