“I needed an MRI and wasn’t exactly thrilled to be slipped into a tube that looked like Spock’s coffin in the ‘Star Trek’ movie. I figured if I kept my eyes closed, I’d be fine. During a short break in the process, I went to scratch my nose and my finger hit the top of the tube. I was about 1 or 2 inches away from the machine. Claustrophobia set in.”
This is how Tracey, 58, a native of Howard Beach, described her experience when she had to undergo medical imaging testing.
She, along with nearly everyone else who has ever had to face either an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or a CT Scan (Computerized Tomography), should be pleased to know that the Advanced Imaging Center at Flushing Hospital Medical Center now offers state-of-the-art technology that, staffers contend, can remove much of the anxiety often associated with the procedures, while providing accurate diagnostic images.
Longtime Bayside resident Maryellen Pierce, 60, said she has had at least five MRIs, including three in the past two and a half years.
“Last week was my last one,” she said. “I asked to be put feet first and at first they said no. I had a panic attack. They pulled me out and let me go feet first. I must have still been anxious because when they pulled me out, my shirt was wet with sweat. You would think that after five or six MRIs I would be used to it, but my fear is getting worse. There has to be a better way.”
Flushing Hospital thinks it has found a better way and hosted an open house last week for its own staff as well as physicians in the neighborhood to check out two of its latest acquisitions, the 3T MRI Scanner and the Siemans Flash CT Split Second Scanner.
As described by the hospital, the 3T MRI Scanner offers technologically advanced MRI imagining, complete with TIM integrated coil technology and an open bore design.
TIM integrated coil technology provides more detailed image quality and avoids the need to reposition the patient for multiple exams. It also takes half the time of a regular MRI.
The open-bore design, replacing the traditional closed tunnel, enables use for a wider range of patients, including those who are obese or claustrophobic.
The new CT scan machine is an advanced technology that allows scanning at high speeds, providing accurate diagnostic images, while using an estimated 30-40 percent less radiation.
Each machine cost around $2 million.
On a recent tour of the center, Dr. Sabiha Raoof, chairwoman of the Department of Radiology, said that the entire department is American College of Radiology-accredited. To be so designated, she said the department had to go through “a thorough process.”
Since getting the new machines within the past few months, “Nobody has complained about claustrophobia,” the doctor said. “The patients are very happy.”
For information, call (718) 670-5000.