The new, $1.6 million magnetic resonance imaging system that Payson Regional Medical Center has added to its radiology department a piece of equipment so complex it comes with its own 10-by-50-foot building has instantly increased the array of diagnostic capabilities available in the Rim country.
"As far as rural communities go, you'd have a very difficult time finding this equipment or anything that equals it," PRMC radiology technician Paul Honer said.
"This is the newest model. They don't come any newer than this."
Nor do they come any more versatile.
"With this system, we can now serve a broader patient population due to a greater imaging clarity which allows a wider variety of diagnostic exams to be performed," Russell Judd, the hospital's CEO, said.
Called a Symphony Magnetron MRI and developed by industry leader Siemens Medical Systems, the technology provides PRMC with the ability to perform stroke, body MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) and neurological studies. Installed just four weeks ago, the system has already been used to scan between 180 and 190 patients, Honer said.
Shorter exam times and a maximum patient-friendly design help to provide magnetic resonance (MR) imaging exams to those who experience claustrophobia or high anxiety in a conventional MR problems which Honer said afflicted about 20 percent of the hospital's MRI patients prior to the arrival of the new system. That number, he added, has been reduced to about one half of a percent since the installation of the Symphony Magnetron.
"In addition to (providing) outstanding patient comfort, the system enables us to perform high-resolution studies on both orthopedic and neurology patients," Bruce Foreman, PRMC's diagnostic-imaging services director said. "For example, we can now look at very small blood vessels in the brain to spot aneurysms, or identify plaque buildups in the carotid arteries that might lead to a future stroke. We can also diagnose blood flow problems in patients with phlebitis or diabetes."
For orthopedic patients, the new MR system will help the center diagnose some of the most difficult joints in the body, such as the shoulder and pelvis. It can also detect subtle damage to the spine and joints in patients with herniated disks and arthritis. The center also expects to see more sports-medicine cases in the future due to the system's high resolution, which allows detection of subtle injuries which before may have gone undiscovered.
"I'm very pleased about the addition of the state-of-the-art MR to our imaging department," Dr. Kelvin Danielson, chief of radiology, said. "It is part of our overall program to bring imaging equipment with cutting-edge technology to PRMC. Recent additions of imaging equipment include a nuclear camera, our angiography capabilities and new ultrasound equipment due to arrive this month."