Lethbridge’s new University 3T MRI Centre officially opened to the public for private bookings on Monday.
Radiologist Dr. Michael Lane called it a unique addition to health care in the province.
“For a third party to pay, or for a individual to pay out of their pocket, this is the best MRI you can buy in Alberta,” he said.
The magnet at the new centre is a 3 Tesla and gives radiologists the clearest image possible.
“Since I have started my career, this is the best MRI imaging I have ever seen outside of what you see in textbooks, which of course are always perfect,” Lane added.
The centre at the University of Lethbridge is a joint collaboration between private investors, the U of L and local radiologists.
“It’s a win for the community, it’s a win for the medical community and it’s a win for the university – and really, it’s a win for patients,” Lane said.
Kyle Puchinger is one patient hoping the new centre can help him. For nearly a year, he says he has been dealing with severe back pain.
“Being able to ride a bike with my kids, play golf or swimming, I can’t do any of those things right now,” he said. “So I’d really like to get to the bottom of it and figure out what I need to do to get it fixed.”
When he found out a state-of-the-art MRI centre was opening in Lethbridge, he was the first to call and book a spot, opting to pay out of pocket.
“I’ve had an MRI booked since December but I can’t get in until September, so it was pretty easy to make the decision to get it done here when I could get in months sooner rather than driving to Calgary or Medicine Hat,” Puchinger said.
Dr. Lane said the new technology should make recruiting badly-needed radiologists to Lethbridge easier and should also cut down on wait times which he says are currently at nine to 11 months in the region.
“For every patient we can have scanned here out of their pocket, or from WCB or from a third party, you know that is one less patient to be scanned at Chinook Regional Hospital,” he said. “So hopefully everyone will move through the system faster.”
Wait times at the new MRI centre are one to three business days. A single body part scan starts at $690 dollars. For a list of services and to book an appointment, click here.