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  • Avera St. Luke’s Adds New MRI

Published on July 03, 2012

Avera St. Luke’s Adds New MRI

Avera St. Luke’s Hospital is upgrading its MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to the “gold standard” of MRI technology, doubling the power, cutting the scanning time in half, and increasing the clarity of imaging with this new diagnostic tool.

“Advantages of our new MRI are faster scan times and new applications, especially in the areas of neurology, body and orthopedic imaging, along with cardiac and breast,” said Lee Ann Tople, director of Avera St. Luke’s Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services. MRI tests use a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. Digital images from an MRI scan are saved and stored on a computer for more study, and MRIs may show problems that can’t be seen with other imaging methods.

The new MRI is totally digital and includes multi-transmit technology superior to other machines. It also uses about 50 percent less energy than the previous MRI. This level of technology is not available within 200 miles of Aberdeen. Cost of the MRI project is nearly $2 million.

For an MRI test, the patient lies on a table that moves inside the specialized machine that contains a strong magnet which creates images of the area of the body being studied. Patients will find the new MRI opening is larger, helping eliminate the “tunnel feeling” of this type of imaging, and better accommodating larger patients.

The new Philips Ingenia 3 Tesla MRI arrived June 25 and was moved into its first floor home in the hospital’s Radiology Department. Work started in mid-May to prepare for the equipment, with the area updated with new floors and walls, new magnetic shielding and other aesthetics. MRI services have been offered on a mobile basis during this time, which will continue until mid-July when the new MRI is fully operational.

“It’s very exciting to have this top level technology, which puts us on par with major medical facilities like Mayo and all the top university hospitals in the country,” said Dr. Stephen Peters,  director of Radiology at Avera St. Luke’s.  “Virtually every MRI exam we do will be vastly improved because of this.”

The hospital has provided MRI services for more than 17 years with 1.5 Tesla equipment, which included software upgrades over the years. The new 3.0 Tesla doubles the effectiveness of Avera St. Luke’s MRI capabilities.