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Advanced Technology 3T MRIThe Queen's Medical Center is the first in the State of Hawai’i to install a short bore, 3 Tesla diagnostic MRI scanner used to create images of the soft tissues of the body. Queen's also has two 1.5T short bore units. The new short bore 3T MRI has an extra large opening of 70 centimeters (about 27.5 inches) for patients, and the length of the bore, or tube, is short, so patients are much less likely to feel they are in a tunnel as in older models. "We want to [bring in] patients we haven't been able to examine because of claustrophobia or size," said radiologist Darren Lum, MD, who noted that most MRIs have an opening of only 60 centimeters. The extra large opening can accommodate a patient of up to 550 pounds. The new equipment is also fast, with scans taking as little as 15 minutes.

The high magnetic field strength of 3T means that images are sharper, producing 1 millimeter pixels. Certain types of exams, such as most neurology, vascular and orthopedic work, are better on the 3T because of the sharpness of the scans and the flexibility of the software. New software purchased with the equipment has significant features which improve MRI scanning, such as motion correction, useful particularly if a patient has an involuntary twitch. The advanced software can also be used to examine the cartilage between joints to detect damage at a much earlier stage.

For vascular work, the software allows doctors to measure blood flow to the brain in stroke patients. This can be done without injecting contrast, which some patients are not able to tolerate. Non-contrast imaging can also be used for other blood vessels of the body to detect blockages. Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) can also be performed to study conditions such as congenital heart disease, peripheral vascular disease and arterial-venous malformations (AVMs). MRA is a technique which allows doctors to see blood vessels in motion.

Queen's new 3T MRI is not only good for patient accommodation and comfort, but also provides many hardware and software advancement unavailable anywhere else in the state. The Queen's MRI Department is open Mondays through Fridays from 7:00am to 10:00pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30am to 4:00pm.

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