If you dread getting an MRI because you are claustrophobic, but you do it anyway because you know your doctor and radiologist need those images to help you. Well, Avera Sacred Heart in Yankton can offer the best of all worlds. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on the new MRI technology they are offering that produces pictures twice as good and with more space for patients lying inside.
In June of 2011, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton was presented with a challenge, one they were thrilled to have, getting a 13,000 pound brand new state-of-the-art MRI into the radiology department through the front doors of the hospital. After a lot of walls came down and new ones went up, 6 short weeks later is operational.
Radiologist Dr. Greg Taylor is the Director of Radiology at Avera Sacred Heart and explains why the new 3 Tesla MRI is so much better than the older version. Tesla is the unit of measurement for how strong the magnetic field is. MRI uses magnets and radio waves to generate pictures.
Dr. Taylor says, "High field is no longer 1.5 Tesla. It is 3 Tesla compare the difference in pictures not unlike, very similar to a VCR, but now it's having Blu-Ray. In fact, I've only used this magnet for 3 or 4 weeks and I've already ready been able to make diagnoses that I couldn't make on the previous magnet simply because the quality is so much better and it's showing me things that I couldn't see before."
Not that this would ever happen because patients are screened extremely thoroughly before they step foot in to this fault, to give you an idea of how strong the magnet field is with this MRI if I were to go in there with a set of keys and got 3 to 4 feet away from the magnet, it would grab them and those keys would become a deadly projectile.
Because the magnet twice as strong, the time you'll be in there has been cut down significantly. What used to take 45-50 minutes will only take about 10 minutes now. Plus, you shouldn't feel so claustrophobic.
Dr. Taylor says, "Previously the opening of the inside of the magnet was constricting. The way they've designed this magnet and the way control the main field, the volume of the space is 4 times bigger than what people are accused to. "
So the pictures are phenomenal, which makes the diagnoses more accurate, and the space inside the machine doesn't invade your personal space as much. If you live in the Yankton area this is great news for you, why would you ever leave town for medical care?
Avera Sacred Heart is working with USD on a huge research project. They will be using the new 3 Tesla MRI to study post traumatic stress disorder in veterans. They are currently in the process of selecting candidates to run the program in combination with the Department of Defense. KSFY will continue to follow this story.