Hospital’s new MRI technology enhances quality, expands hoursLinda Dittberner describes the difference between plain film x-rays and the multiple thin-slice images from the hospital’s new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine as “like looking at a photo of a loaf of bread and looking at the detail on each slice of a loaf of bread.”
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Linda Dittberner describes the difference between plain film X-rays and the multiple thin-slice images from the hospital’s new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine as “like looking at a photo of a loaf of bread and looking at the detail on each slice of a loaf of bread.”
“We can do 3D images of a knee scheduled for a replacement, and between the 3D image and software, we can custom-make the prosthesis in the size that is best for the patient,” said Dittberner, director of imaging services at Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet. “We couldn’t do that [pre-surgery calculation] with the mobile MRI services we’ve been using.”
Another advantage of the new machine is the fact that patients can go in feet first, rather than the head-first, sometimes claustrophobic position of the current mobile scanner, which divides its time between Cloquet, Moose Lake and Sandstone.
Dittberner said she expects the new machine to be ready for patients in early March.
The addition of the new Siemens Magnetom Avanto MRI machine is the culmination of a plan that started with Phase I of the hospital’s three-phase renovation process, back in 2003.
“Basically, we built a super extensive giant film room, with the idea that it would someday house an MRI here at the hospital,” said CMH CEO Rick Breuer. “And now, with advances in technology, we are filmless. But we have room for the MRI [machine] and the tech area.”
The biggest challenge in installing the new machine was moving it down the hallway from outside to its new home at CMH, Dittberner said. With only centimeters to spare, workers had to remove paintings from the walls and move it inch by inch down the corridor.
Unlike X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans, MRI machines do not use radiation. According to WebMD, MRI tests use a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. In many cases MRI gives different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan. MRI also may show problems that cannot be seen with other imaging methods.
Dittberner is hoping more patients will stay in Cloquet for MRI tests because of the better imaging technology and the fact that the hospital will have MRI scans available five days a week with expanded hours.
“It is a great feeling when we are able to expand services to our local community,” Dittberner said.