In some welcome news, a powerful new MRI machine that can scan a leg or an arm without many of the usual inconveniences can also help patients with claustrophobia.
Most MRI machines are tubes that are 5- or 6-feet long. Patients lie inside for about 45 minutes. In the extremity MRI, the patient sits in a comfortable reclining chair and inserts his or her arm or leg into the machine.
The Loyola University Health System MRI, available at the new Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge, will benefit patients who for various reasons cannot be scanned inside enclosed-tube MRIs.
For example, some patients experience mild to extreme feelings of claustrophobia inside MRI tubes. And patients with conditions such as back pain and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cannot lie flat on their backs.
"With this innovative scanner, we can accommodate extremity imaging for patients in a manner that is efficient, comfortable and effective," Dr. Scott A. Mirowitz, chairman of the Department of Radiology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said.
A patient needs to remain still while undergoing an MRI scan. But some children find it difficult or impossible to lie still inside conventional MRI machines and must be medicated.
With the extremity MRI, however, a parent can sit next to the child. The parent can read to or distract the child so the child doesn't squirm.