Carson-Tahoe hospital goes state-of-the-art in a big way

Carson Imaging is updating Carson-Tahoe Hospital's 16-year-old magnetic resonance imaging technology with a state-of-the-art machine.

Only three of the Intera machines, manufactured by Philips Medical Systems, exist in the country.

The main component of the $2 million machine, a circular magnet 9 feet in diameter and weighing more than four tons, was brought to Carson City on Saturday.

Getting something that big into a building presented its own challenges.

"It's just huge, kind of like launching an aircraft carrier," said Tim Delahanty, director of marketing for Tahoe-Carson Radiology. "But we're not letting anyone break a bottle of champagne on it."

A building for Carson Imaging is being built behind Lee's Pharmacy on Mountain Street and the roof had to be removed to install the magnet.

The radiology group and the hospital are partners and formed Carson Imaging to bring increased magnetic resonance imaging techniques to the capital.

MRI technology uses computers and magnetic fields to create pictures of the body. Uses of MRIs are generally associated with the brain, but the machines also are used to get detailed photos of all areas of the body.

MRI machines like the one in the hospital require a person to be put into a cylinder in the center of the machine.

The new Intera machine requires only that a person's head be inside the machine with about a foot and a half of space as a cushion.

It also allows doctors to not only take photos but to do it in real time. The difference is that instead of taking a roll of film with a camera and having it developed, a digital camera is used so that pictures are available immediately. It allows doctors a higher degree of accuracy in their diagnosis, Delahanty said.

Where an MRI in the old device took up to two hours, procedures in the new machine take about 40 minutes, he said.

The new MRI should be ready for patients by June 1.


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