Lethbridge and surrounding areas will soon have access to world-class MRI scanning out of the University.
The 3 Tesla, otherwise known as the Siemens 3 Tesla Magnetom Skyra MRI System, runs a higher powered magnetic field than the machine available at Chinook Regional Hospital. Although it comes at a much higher cost, it'll be able to provide clearer images for better diagnosis.
The machine also offers more space for patients and a higher table weight capacity, maximizing patient comfort.
Calgary is currently the closest high-powered MRI, and this new machine will now serve Southern Alberta, Southwestern Saskatchewan, Southeastern BC and Northern Montana.
"We're looking to scan athletes, or maybe mature athletes, who have injuries that are on a wait list for 9 to 12 months at the hospital because they don't have a life-threatening need," noted Janice Adamson, Project Manager.
"We're just trying to help those kinds of people find a quick solution, or find out if they qualify for surgery, or maybe there's another route to manage the pain they're in."
Adamson added that this project was funded largely by the University, among other private investors. The partnership makes it possible for the University to use the scanner for research opportunities it could never access before.
The scanner will be open for clinical duties in the morning during week days, and will be turned over to researchers for evenings and weekends.
The 3T MRI Centre, located in the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience Building, will start booking appointments on June 20. However, since it's privately operated, most insurance companies won't typically cover scans.
Patients can be referred by a licenced physician, or submit a self-referral form online. Local radiologists will provide clinical interpretation, and issue a CD or USB with the images. The wait period is expected to be between one to three days.
Until phone lines open on the 20th, Adamson says any other questions can be found online at www.u3t.ca.