February 6, 2012 — Diagnostic Imaging Northwest (DINW) in Tacoma, Wash., announced the new extremity 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner that offers new comfort for patients. The GE Optima is the first specialty high-field extremity MRI available in the Northwest. Designed to be more comfortable than a full-body MRI system, the GE Optima is intended for patients needing an MRI exam of extremities such as the elbow, wrist, hand, knee, ankle and foot.
The Optima features a high-strength 1.5T magnet exceeding those of a standard MRI system, and warranting image quality. The comfortable design ensures less moving around; resulting images are likely to be even more clear and consistent, securing a more confident diagnosis.
Unlike the awkward and uncomfortable positions sometimes required for extremity scanning in whole-body systems, patients can relax on a padded chair beside the scanner, reclining comfortably. The open design eliminates anxiety for patients who experience extreme claustrophobia with traditional closed-in tube MRIs.
Barbara Blankenship, medical director for DINW, said, "Our goal is to provide patients with the right MRI scanner for their needs. Comfort and quality imaging are our top priority. For some extremity exams done in a traditional full-body MRI system, the way the patient must be positioned is not always comfortable." Beyond comfort, the extremity MRI's open design reduces anxiety for those who have concerns about going into a full-body MRI system. Additionally, children can be joined by an adult in the exam room.
"With the GE Optima MRI, patients sit next to the system and only the targeted body part goes into the system. This helps make it easier for them to be as still as possible for the best exam achievable," Blankenship said.