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FirstHealth patient: True-open MRI “10 times better” than closed

| Date Posted: 11/22/2011

PINEHURST – Rockingham resident Kenneth Long, who weighs 300 pounds-plus, describes himself as a “heavy-set fellow.”

When he learned he needed an MRI to pinpoint the source of his chronic lower back, hip and leg pain, he began searching for an imaging program that would allow him to avoid the cramped conditions of a traditional closed-bore system.

MRI

FirstHealth Outpatient Imaging has the area’s only true-open bore MRI. The system provides a high level of patient accommodation for claustrophobic, obese, pediatric, elderly and infirm patients while producing images that are equal in quality to those of a closed-bore system.

He found exactly what he wanted with the true-open bore system at FirstHealth Outpatient Imaging in Pinehurst.

“You don’t have the cramp-ness,” Long says. “You can see out of it. You’ve just got more room.”

FirstHealth Outpatient Imaging has the area’s only true-open bore MRI. The system provides the highest level of patient accommodation and acceptance for claustrophobic, obese, pediatric, elderly and infirm patients while producing images that are equal in quality to those of a closed-bore system.

According to Ernest Samuel, director of Imaging Services at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, other imaging programs in the region claim to have open-bore MRIs, but those systems are not true opens. Although the machines are not as tightly enclosed as traditional closed bores, their sides are not fully open.

“Ours are wide open,” Samuel says.

Even very claustrophobic patients can be accommodated in FirstHealth’s true-open MRI. “They tolerate our system very well,” Samuel says. “Patients come to us, because we have a true open. It really helps them out tremendously.”

Since it can accommodate patients weighing as much as 660 pounds, the FirstHealth system is often used with patients being evaluated for weight-loss surgery. Pediatric patients are also good candidates for open-bore procedures because of the unimpeded view of a parent or caregiver that the true-open system allows.

More than 2,400 procedures have been performed with FirstHealth’s 1.2 Hitachi High-Field Boreless System since it was placed into operation in late 2010.

According to Long, the difference between closed-bore and true-open bore procedures is like the difference between “night and day.” “There’s just so much more room, and it’s so open,” he says. “This one is 10 times better.”

For patient convenience, FirstHealth Outpatient Imaging, located at 30 Memorial Drive, Pinehurst, offers after-hours and weekend appointments for true-open bore MRIs. Clinic hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Extended appointment times are also available for MRI procedures performed with FirstHealth’s traditional closed-bore systems in the Imaging Services department at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. Those hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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