McDowell building new open MRI facility in Danville

March 24, 2004|HERB BROCK

An outpatient MRI center, featuring an open MRI unit, will be the centerpiece of an expansion project just begun at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center's Southtown Center on Daniel Drive.

The two-story facility will be 2,622 square feet and cost $385,000 to build. Construction, which is being overseen by EGC Construction of Newport, is expected to be completed in July.

The open magnetic resonance imaging unit will be purchased at a cost of $750,000 from Siemens Medical Solutions, a Siemens spokesman said.

Physicians and employees of Danville Radiology Associates will staff the center, while McDowell will manage it.

The open MRI unit will be one of the few in this area available to patients. Now, most Danville area patients seeking open MRI services have to go to medical facilities in Lexington or Louisville, according to McDowell spokeswoman Maleena Streeval.


The open MRI is considered to be more comfortable and less time-consuming than a traditional MRI and thus is "Ideal" for anxious, claustrophobic, geriatric, pediatric and obese patients, said Streeval. A patient lies on a cushioned table that moves under the image-producing magnet for 30 to 60 seconds, she said.

The open MRI has clear, unobstructed space on three sides, allowing the patient to see and talk to the MRI technologist throughout the exam, providing a "more pleasant experience for the patient, especially those who tend to be claustrophobic or become anxious in enclosed spaces," Streeval said.

An MRI is a procedure that provides physicians with accurate information for the diagnosis or treatment of a variety of diseases and illnesses, including brain and nervous system disorders, internal injuries, problems with tendons cartilage, ligaments and bone marrow, as well as cancers in most organs and tissues. The machine uses magnetic fields and radio waves instead of X-rays to gather detailed images of the internal organs and other structures of the body.

A traditional closed MRI unit will still be used at the hospital.

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