A NEW $1.25 million, 2.5-tonne machine represents a huge step forward for the Launceston General Hospital and Northern Tasmania.
This is according to chief radiographer Garth Faulkner, who unveiled the week-old CT scanner at the hospital's medical imaging department yesterday.
Mr Faulkner said the machine - the second of its kind in Australia - had higher image quality and lower radiation levels than any other scanner in the country.
``When we compare it to our old machine we are at least half the dose of radiation, if not more . . . and we are a fairly low dosing department,'' Mr Faulker said.
``It also has an application called dual energy, which allows us to characterise the make up of kidney stones.
``So we can tell a urologist surgeon what it's made up of, and they can make a decision on whether we need to do surgery . . . and before this, they couldn't do that.''
Mr Faulkner said the scanner was better equipped to handling a growing number of bariatric - or obese - patients, with a table load up to 300 kilograms.
He said the machine was also faster, scanning an adult body in about 10 seconds.
``The speed is not really that important for most people, but when you think about speed for children, it's really important,'' he said.
``It's getting so fast that we scanned a four-year-old child the other day for a pelvis, which we would have been reticent to do before because they might have moved, but it took us just one second to scan him.''