Hospital unveils MRI upgrade

Published 1:18 am Thursday, May 9, 2019

Equipment makes scans faster, more detailed

Andalusia Health unveiled its recently-upgraded MRI at a Chamber breakfast Wednesday.

The local hospital began the $1.2 million upgrade to the MRI with advanced GE SIGNA Explorer XT in January, and used a mobile unit for local patients during the months-long installation.

Director of Imaging Services Gordon Hessie, MBA, BS, RENM, CNMT, said the upgrade gives local professionals better image resolution, quicker scans, and the ability to perform exams that were not possible with the old unit.

Hessie said one advantage of the new equipment is its spectroscopy capability.

“We weren’t spectroscopy before,” Hessie said.

MR spectroscopy compares the chemical composition of normal tissue with abnormal tissue.

For instance, he said, with the new equipment, they have the ability to look at an area of the liver and determine how much fatty tissue is present.

“That’s one of the precursors of cirrhosis of the liver,” Hessie said. “This allows us to diagnose earlier.”

The software also allows for some motion correction, which can be helpful in cases in which a person needs to be sedated for a scan. 

“Our imaging times are also faster because we have parallel imaging,” he said. “We now have several features that allows us to collect more information in a shorter period of time. Because of that, we are able to reduce overall scan times, and get better images, which means we can catch emerging pathologies.”

And that’s the biggest selling point, Hessie said.

“One of the things that I think sells the equipment more than anything else is that it’s uncomfortable to be in that tube,” he said. “If we can get done faster, it’s a lot more tolerable.”

Andalusia Health generally sets 10 appointments for MRIs daily, he said.