Patients in need of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services at St. Vincent Clay Hospital will no longer have to wait for a mobile service to arrive at the hospital or go elsewhere for their tests.
The final stages of installing a new MRI unit at the hospital are under way.
"We are excited to be able to provide MRI services that will meet the needs of our community," said Jerry Laue, Hospital Administrator. "Our goal is to elevate the level of care and convenience for the patient."
Since 1985, patients have taken advantage of mobile MRI services provided one day a week at the hospital. This limited schedule flexibility for patients and was inconvenient for both doctors and patients.
"With the in-house MRI, we are better able to schedule testing throughout the week making it more convenient for out-patients to stay close to home," Director of Clinic Services Sandy Haggart said. "Having the MRI in-house will also allow our physicians to order the test and receive results quicker, thus, expediting care to our patients."
Introduced in 1983 for tissue visualization, MRI is a non-invasive painless diagnostic tool with no known side effects and is considered free of the hazards found with X-rays. The MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to detect differences between healthy and diseased tissues without the use of ionizing radiation, according to a press release from St. Vincent Clay Hospital.
The average 30 - 45 minute procedure produces three-dimensional cross sectional views of the body and its organs. Bone matter does not hamper the device's ability to visualize tissue.
The MRI procedure is used as a method to detect abnormalities of the brain and spine, tumors, blood clots, cysts, edema, hemorrhage, abscesses, infarctions, aneurysms, multiple sclerosis, dementia, epilepsy, focal viral encephalitis, muscular disease, skeletal abnormalities, congenital heart disease, intervertebral disc abnormalities, causes of spinal cord compression, joint abnormalities and hyperparathyroidism, as well as soft-tissue infections.
Due to the intense power of the unit's 12,800 pound magnet, the new MRI unit will be housed inside a copper-lined room on the west side of the hospital.
While installing the magnetic part of the unit on Monday, Bill Schaefer, of Schaefer Construction, said, "It will be up and ready for patients in September."