Orthopaedic & Spine Center (OSC) of Newport News is excited to welcome the newest addition to our family: a Hitachi Oasis Open Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This new machine will be the most powerful open MRI on the Peninsula, and will be open for business on September 3, 2013. In addition to completing orthopaedic images, we will be able to do a range of abdominal, brain and vascular studies that most open MRIs are not strong enough to do. We removed our old machine a few weeks ago, and are currently using a temporary MRI in a large, self-contained trailer adjacent to our facility.
Our new Oasis MRI is an excellent resource to add to our community for many reasons:
- It can do faster scans with better image quality.
- It will accommodate patients up to 660 pounds.
- It is perfect for children and claustrophobic individuals because they can have constant eye and physical contact with a loved one sitting next to the machine.
- It offers motion- compensated imaging, which means no need for breath-holding while scanning. This results in fewer rescans, and a more comfortable experience.
- Faster scans in a more comfortable environment means faster scheduling of MRI studies. Less waiting on scanners that are slower that can be full for weeks.
Compared to our previous MRI, the new Oasis MRI will provide sharper images and will complete the studies more quickly. An MRI’s strength is measured in a unit called Tesla. The Tesla measures the concentration of the magnetic field, and it is the unit of measurement by which all MRIs are calibrated. Our previous MRI was .3 Tesla and the new unit is 1.2 Tesla, so our new Oasis unit is technically 4 times stronger than the old one, and stronger than any other open MRI on the peninsula.
Oasis weighs approximately 36,000 lbs. (18 tons!). The process to install, calibrate, and operate this machine is delicate and quite extensive. The MRI uses internal radiofrequency to operate, therefore; the scanning room must be shielded from outside radiofrequency, such as that from two-way radios, commercial radios, beeper systems and television transmitters. External radiofrequency can cause “artifacts”, or spots, to appear on the images and may cause diagnostic issues. When we designed our building in 2007, we knew that the MRI suite required very special attention to deter any outside radiofrequency from entering the MRI suite. That is why the floor, ceiling, and walls in the MRI suite consist basically of a large steel box, which is covered by flooring and sheet rock.
Other factors can also cause “artifacts” to show up on MRI scans, such as light bulbs with traditional filament. We have to utilize a particular type of LED bulb in the MRI suite. Also, water from the sprinkler system in the ceiling can cause artifacts, too. The pipes for the sprinkler system above the MRI suite contain valves so the water inside of the pipes is a specific distance away from the entrance to the room. This is to prevent “artifacts” should the water inside the pipe move or rattle.
Our new Oasis will arrive at our office several weeks before it is ready for scans. Once it arrives here, Hitachi personnel will be on site for three weeks to calibrate the MRI. After that, our staff will train for two weeks to make sure everyone knows the new system extremely well before our first scan on September 3! We are very excited to be able to provide this improved resource to our community and look forward to serving many patients in its future!