New MRI More Patient Friendly

For making images of muscles, ligaments, nerves, the spinal cord and brain, MRI ? magnetic resonance imaging ? has been the overwhelming choice of doctors.

Unfortunately, many people were unwilling or incapable of taking advantage of MR?s medical benefits. MRI imaging was not an option for them. Either they were too big in body size for the equipment or too claustrophobic to tolerate the tight confines of the traditional MRI.

Cindy Wilson, MRI Tech, stands beside the new MRI

at Union Hospital. Demonstrating the large size of the

"Open Bore" technology is Johs Smith, MRI tech.

Union Hospital has recently unveiled its newest piece of high technology, a Seimens Espree 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging system. This new generation of MRI combines the high-field magnet power to produce highly detailed images with an "open bore" design. A 2 ? foot wide bore opening allows larger patients access to the same high quality imaging capabilities, while claustrophobic patients will no longer have the ceiling of the magnet next to their nose.

"Our new equipment is the result of some amazing advances and innovations in MRI technology", according to Kyle Wallick, the hospital?s director of radiology. "Patients won?t feel like they?re nose-to-nose with the magnet. In fact, 60% of all MRI scans can be done with the patient?s head outside the open bore, so it?s not a consideration at all."

Wallick says the new MRI not only overcomes the limitations of small openings, but provides increased comfort for all patients.

"The increased power of the magnet produces sharper images of larger individuals." Wallick says. "Patients can be scanned in a matter of minutes without having to be repositioned multiple times. For many it will be similar to having a CT scan. All in all it is a more relaxed and patient-friendly experience."

The MRI at Union Hospital is conveniently located in a new addition to the hospital?s Radiology Department and is operated by hospital staff.

MRI service has been available at Union Hospital since 1988, but always as a service under contract with an outside provider. With the increasing number of MRI scans being done, and a goal to improve service quality, Union Hospital made the investment in the new MRI technology and the building addition to house the service.

As the result of the $2.7 million project, more local patients will have access to state-of-the-art MRI imaging, expanded hours will reduce waiting times for service, and operating efficiency will increase.

With nearly 3,700 MRI scans done at Union Hospital last year, improved MRI service will have a major impact on the health of our community.

Sept 2009



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