The Reno Diagnostic Center has become the first medical facility in northern Nevada to obtain a 3-Tesla full-body magnetic resonance imaging machine for imaging patients whose diagnosis requires detailed information.
The $2.5 million 3-Tesla magnet replaces a 1.5-Tesla magnet at RDC's Eureka Avenue center in downtown Reno.
The copper dome housing the 1.5-Tesla magnet has been dismantled and in its place a new structure will be constructed.
The new machine will be up and running around the second week of January 2006.
Recently at the same center RDC acquired a new Hitachi Open MRI, and it operates a 1.5- Tesla magnet at its Sierra Rose Drive center.
The higher-field MRI, twice as strong as the 1.5-Tesla machine,will allow physicians to see things that much more clearly when minute detail is required, particularly in the areas of neurology, orthopedic and spine problems, says Dr.
Ross Golding, medical director of RDC.
As an example, he says, it allows for imaging that would clearly delineate certain parts of the brain that are involved in physical or functional activities.
"That would allow the surgeon to know that 5 millimeters just below the part of the brain that you're going to remove is the speech area."
Golding believes this higher power MRI machine will become a standard pre-operative evaluation for people having brain surgery.
The new MRI means RDC can examine patients that previously had to go to Stanford, the University of San Francisco or University of California at Davis.
"We hope to do an additional two patients a day with the 3T,"Golding says.
As of now RDC carries out imaging of about 18 patients a day.RDC plans seminars to educate physicians about the capabilities of the new machine.