Cutting edge MRI technology in SWLA

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Abnormalities throughout the body, once too small to detect, can now be seen thanks to a new imaging system: the Magnetom Verio 3-T MRI system.

When x-rays couldn't show what problem Loretta Findley was having with her shoulder, she was told she needed to have an MRI. But when she saw what she was working with, the panic set in!  "I've never been claustrophobic," says Loretta, "but when I saw the machine, I got kind of panicky."

For years, claustrophobic and larger patients have had problems feeling comfortable inside an MRI machine.  Now, new developments in technology have not only increased image clarity, but also the comfort of the patient - as Southwest Louisiana Imaging MRI technologist John Chiasson explains: "It's like a sense of relief when they get in there, that nothing is touching the walls of the magnet," says Chiasson, "even for our larger patients."

Southwest Louisiana Imaging is now home to the world's first large bore 3T MRI system. With its 70 centimeter opening and the strongest magnetic field in clinical use, radiologist Charles Brdlik, M.D. says the Verio system is changing the way magnetic resonance imaging is done.  "The field strength is about 60,000 times that of the first magnetic field," says Dr. Brdlick, "It's also two times stronger than any other imaging systems that we have in the area."

Inside the magnet suite, each patient is given headphones to listen to music - as well as a comforting voice.  The entire process takes about 30 minutes to complete and images detecting even the smallest abnormalities are produced.  "You can see little tiny vessels that you may not visualize on a weaker field strength magnet," says Chiasson.

Loretta found out she has a rotator cuff tear. Since it's only about two millimeters long, it could have gone undetected if not for these detailed images. Now she's ready to take the next step forward.  "I didn't realize it was going to get progressively worse," says Loretta, "and right now it's at the point that I barely can use that arm, so I'm really looking forward to getting it fixed so I can get back to normal."

*If you have a pacemaker or other electronic implanted device, MRIs are not for you.  To find out more about the Verio system at Southwest Louisiana Imaging, call 439-7778.

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