Healthwise: MRI Improvements

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

March 10, 2010

Entering a MRI can be a tight squeeze. Just the thought of being in a rigid position, instructed not to move, is enough to turn away some patients.

"Many people will say they just can't do it up front. We also have patients who we put them inside the machine, then they realize it's very claustrophobic and that they just can't do it. Those patients either have to come back after additional medication or they just can't have the imaging study at all," said Dr. Jack Higginbotham.

Those patients will soon have a new option at Martha Jefferson Hospital. On Saturdays, doctors have the wider Espree model MRI machine. The new model provides more headroom, more legroom and more comfort.

"The patient goes in and they have more room around them, so they don't feel quite as cramped and claustrophobic," said Higginbotham.

The Espree can accommodate larger patients up to 550 pounds.

"The claustrophobic or larger patient will be able to be scanned with a whole lot more comfort. With the majority of the scans, they will be able to be feet first, so the head will be out of the bore of the magnet," said MRI Department Supervisor, Christy Ott.

A welcomed addition considering patients can find themselves in an MRI scan tube for anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour.

"They will be able to be more comfortable, so they will be able to hold
still, which is extremely important with an MRI. [It's important] that you hold very still so the pictures are optimal and the doctors can get a better diagnosis," said Ott.

An MRI can be expensive. It's important to get it right the first time, so it doesn't have to be repeated. There's no room for error, but now there's more room for you.

The Espree is available on Saturdays at the main hospital from 8am until 5pm starting Saturday, March 13.

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