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New Open MRI

February 20, 2006
New Open MRI provides imaging option for more patients

It arrived in December on five tractor-trailer trucks, and it weighs 96,000 pounds. It's a 0.7 Tesla Hitachi Altaire Open MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) unit. And it lets St. Mary's and Pavilion Imaging perform this nonradiation-based imaging service when a traditional, tunnel-style MRI scan is not appropriate.

"The image quality is comparable to our traditional MRI," says Lesley Kibel, Pavilion Imaging manager. "Our unit has the largest opening available, so it's comfortable for children, anxious, claustrophobic, and large patients, and convenient for staff attending to the patient."

The new Open MRI is housed in Pavilion Imaging on the second floor of St. Mary's Advanced Medicine Pavilion outpatient services facility at 750 Wellington Avenue.  An 1,800-square-foot addition to house the unit was started in September and completed in early February. The Open MRI was ready to perform the first patient scan February 20. With patient comfort a priority, the new MRI suite was designed with plenty of windows and a sitting area so a patient's loved ones can be in the exam room with them, Kibel explains.

Pavilion Imaging's traditional MRI is operating at near capacity, so the new unit also provides greater access to MRI services in general. "With the additional unit, exams can be scheduled quickly and at the patient's convenience," adds Kibel.