Shannon Medical Center recently upgraded its imaging capabilities with a new open-air MRI scanner. The Hitachi 1.2 Tesla Oasis open MRI magnet is the strongest open-air scanner in the area and provides image quality equal to that of Shannon's 1.5 Tesla closed MRI. Previously, open MRI magnets have not been able to produce image quality similar to those produced by a closed MRI scanner.
"In addition to high quality images, the open magnet provides a more comfortable setting for our patients," Kenneth Breedlove, MD, Shannon Clinic radiologist said. "The open MRI does not have a tube, so patients are able to see on all sides eliminating the closed-in, claustrophobic feeling some people experience in the closed scanner. Also, the table on this machine has the ability to accommodate patients up to 600 pounds."
Along with the new scanner, the $1.5 million, 3,500 square-foot addition houses a patient waiting area and room for future growth. The only difference between the machines is the closed and open aspect. Both are used to examine the same cases, and the decision of which machine used is based on each patient's individual need.
With the addition, Shannon now serves as a regional show site for Hitachi and is equipped with the most advanced software, which means patients receive help from the latest diagnostic tools available.
"We are a regional show site, which means we have the latest software available for the unit so that we can showcase the system for customers who are looking to purchase Hitachi for their facilities," Maribel Rios, director of radiology, said. "Outside facilities come to our site to see the system in a clinical setting. They see the unit in live action, speak with our technologist about the functionality of the machine and speak with our radiologists about image quality of the system."
The addition of this machine will equal three MRI scanners for Shannon Medical Center—three at the main hospital and one at the Shannon Women's Imaging Center.