BATHURST people will no longer have to travel for an MRI.
Bathurst’s first MRI machine, weighing six tonnes and costing more than a million dollars, arrived at PRP Diagnostic Imagery yesterday.
It was lifted into the practice by crane and a specialist team from Hi-Tech Asia Pacific are currently working to install it.
It took two riggers, four Hi-Tech Asia technicians and three crane operators to get the machine in place.
The building next door to the Bentinck Street practice was purchased to house the new equipment.
It will be sharing the space with the nuclear medicine camera which was purchased by the practice two years ago.
The room containing the MRI machine, which is essentially a huge magnet, has been lined with copper to stop outside interference.
Installing the equipment is a delicate process and it will be a month before it is operational.
To put the scope of the equipment into perspective, the earth’s magnetic field is 0.5 gauss. This MRI machine creates a magnetic field of 15000 gauss.
PRP radiologist Dr Mich-ael Jones said MRI is an important part of medical imaging, used particularly for neurological, spinal and musculoskeletal imaging.
He said the number of MRI scans being carried out across the country has been steadily rising.
Dr Jones said the new piece of equipment completes the complement of scan technology the practice offers the people of the Bathurst region.
However, he said the greatest benefit will be felt by patients who currently have to travel to Orange or Sydney for MRI testing.
He added that there are also long waiting lists for the equipment based in Orange.
“It’s a different type of scan that uses magnetic and radio waves, not radiation,” he said.
“But its main benefit is the exquisite high resolution detail of soft tissue it provides. It is fine detail that counts in medical imaging.”
He added that there are a large number of radiologists at PRP who are experts in MRI technology.
They will be supervising and reporting the scans.
Dr Jones said the new equipment is a Medicare licensed scanner so patients will be covered by Medicare.
This Medicare funding was announced in last year’s budget as part of the expansion of MRI services.
“PRP is a big enterprise now, which has to be great for the city of Bathurst,” Dr Jones said.
Chief radiographer David Adams said the arrival of the new equipment was very exciting for the practice.
“Realistically no-one will have to travel outside Bathurst to have imaging done,” he said.
NO MORE TRAVEL: Chief radiographer David Adams and radiologist Dr Michael Jones with Bathurst’s first MRI scanner. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 091712cmri1
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