Technology allows for faster, more comfortable MRIs at Bon Secours Harbour View

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

On June 1, Bon Secours at Harbour View will celebrate its fourth anniversary. But its birthday present came two months early. In February, the Center received the most advanced and widely used high-field open magnetic resource image (MRI) system in the world: the General Electric Signa Open Speed.

The Center attained the Open Speed, in the words of operations manager Stephen Williams, &uot;in order to keep up with modern technology. The higher strength magnet gives us a much sharper and clearer image.&uot; In addition to providing traditional MRI capabilities such as knee, shoulder, ankle, spine and brain imaging, the Open Speed has the potential to be used in pediatric and trauma care, monitoring of stroke therapy, and various invasive procedures.


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But the benefits don’t end there. &uot;The Open Speed allows technicians to archive data quickly, and the information is connected to Maryview Hospital,&uot; said Williams. &uot;If the physicians there need the data, we can send it through digital transfers.&uot; Open Speed examinations take place faster than any other commercially available open MRI systems, allowing patients to get finished quickly.

Harbour View’s machine also helps reduce patient anxiety and is helpful for pediatric, claustrophobic, and larger patients (doctors estimate that more than 10 percent of all MRI exams are abandoned due to patient discomfort). Rather than the &uot;traditional&uot; manner of keeping patients inside a long, relatively thin tube for up to 45 minutes to an hour, the Open Speed is completely open, providing newfound comfort.

&uot;They don’t feel like they’re inside a tunnel,&uot; Williams said. &uot;They can see everything around them. It’s as though they have a force field around them.&uot;

Developed in the 1980s, MRIs utilize computers and magnetic fields to provide safe and non-invasive images of the human anatomy. Unlike X-rays and CAT scans, MRIs use no radiation, instead creating images using powerful, superconducting magnets to generate magnetic fields 8,000 times stronger than that of Earth.