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Healthwise: MRI Comfort

August 31, 2011

Whether it's your head, back or even your arm, patients usually have the same complaint about getting an MRI.

"One of the big problems with MRI scanners in the past is that its tight," said Dr. Jon Ciambotti, of Martha Jefferson Hospital.

At the old Martha Jefferson the circular opening of the MRI Scanner, called a Bore, had a 60 cm circumference. The small opening made the routine scan difficult or uncomfortable for some patients.

"Patients do have issues with claustrophobia and anxiety," said Ciambotti.

However, the brand new scanner in the Imaging Department of the new hospital, has a Bore that is 10 cm larger. It may not sound like a lot, but it makes a huge difference for claustrophobic patients.

"The size is much larger, and the length is shorter so you don't feel so confined in there," said Christy Ott, CT & MRI Supervisor. Adding comfort does not mean Martha Jefferson is skimping on quality.

"The nice thing is we're not losing any image quality with this scanner. This is the latest, greatest machine from general electric and really is the state of the art, so we're not loosing any image quality," said Ciambotti.

"I would imagine they would be better on some patients. So they'll be able to go through their scan and be able to hold still," said Ott.

While patients hold still for the 30 minute scan, they have even more than the extra space to help them stay calm. There is floral art work on the ceiling and music plays in their ears.

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