Five MRI images of the brain, all obtained in under 13 minutes. Photo courtesy Dr. Chip Truwit
CT, PET, MRI, IR, X-ray . . . the world of radiology! Perhaps you’ve encountered some of these tests, maybe had some of them yourself, maybe you even know what these letters mean. For those of us in medicine, imaging studies are a critical and daily part of our work. I order these tests all the time, and when the images show up on my computer screen, I take a look at them and marvel at them. But then I call my radiology colleagues to tell me what I’m really looking at.
At Hennepin Healthcare in downtown Minneapolis the department of Radiology just installed the most advanced MRI machine in the country. Before we launched the new magnet into public use – and “launch” seems the right word since the thing looks like something from NASA – the staff needed to warm the thing up. So I volunteered to have an MRI done.
I had an MRI once before. It was a couple decades ago for a running knee injury. I remember it being cold, loud, lengthy, and rather claustrophobia-inducing.
By Tobias from Wikimedia Commons
The new 3-Tesla MRI scanner at Hennepin’s Clinic and Specialty Center is awesome. First of all, I was welcomed by the staff, then I changed into nice cloth gowns. I got to pick the environment I wanted to be in from a touch screen on the wall. Let’s see, do I want to be on a tropical island, in a forest with pandas, or maybe in an undersea fish scene? I touched “Seychelle Islands” then entered the scanner. The technicians put a visor-like thingie on my face, covered me with a blanket, then the woman with the British accent talked me through the scan while I watched the sea gently roll on the sand of the Seychelles on the screen in front of me.
I never even realized that my body was inside a huge magnet tube. If fact, I fell asleep during my scan.
Three sections in this post if you read on:
- Building the best radiology department right here in downtown Minneapolis. What being patient-centered really means.
- Like wheat in a field. A short physics lesson.
- The role of imaging in a public safety net hospital. Something to get you thinking about healthcare for all people.