Advocate staff photo by STACY GILL -- After 14 months and $7 million in renovation work, Lane Regional Medical Center's imaging department now has General Electric’s most advanced digital X-ray imaging and MRI technology, the Optima MR450W with a Geometry Embracing Method suite. The new MRI GEM suite allows for greater precision and higher resolution imaging while providing patient comfort with silent and quiet scan capability.

Visitors got a first look at Lane Regional Medical Center’s newly renovated imaging department during a Nov. 6 celebration that included tours of the unit.

The 14-month, $7 million renovation includes General Electric’s most advanced digital X-ray imaging and magnetic resonance imaging technology, a news release from Lane said.

The renovation project replaced existing X-ray, fluoroscopic and portable X-ray equipment with new digital imaging equipment and added a second digital mammography unit.

In addition, the Picture Archiving and Communications System was upgraded so radiologists and physicians can electronically view, transmit, dictate and store all radiology images and reports, Lane officials said.

The department’s renovation included the addition of new MRI technology and the Optima MR450W with a Geometry Embracing Method suite — the most advanced technology available in the region for high-resolution, magnetic resonance imaging, officials said.

“This new MRI system allows us to perform high-resolution studies faster and with greater precision than ever before,” said Greg Dickinson, director of imaging. “For example, we can now look at very small blood vessels in the brain that will help spot aneurisms or identify plaque buildup in the carotid arteries that could lead to a stroke. Also, there are many vascular studies that can be performed without the use of injectable contrast that provides added patient safety. The addition of this new technology is truly amazing.”

For orthopedic patients, Dickinson said the MRI is used to diagnose some of the larger, more difficult joints in the body, such as the pelvis, knee or shoulders, “all the way down to detecting the smallest, most subtle, damage to the spine and joints commonly associated with herniated disks and osteoarthritis.”

The new GEM suite with feet-first surface coil technology maximizes patient comfort and produces more accurate images and diagnoses, said hospital officials.

The new technology removes most patient movement, and the surface area where the patient lies is wider than most MRI scanners and follows the contours of the body to provide a more relaxed scanning experience, according to the release.

This makes it easier for radiographers to correctly position patients, resulting in higher quality, more precise, diagnostic images, Lane officials stated.

“Another feature of our new MRI is its silent and quiet scan capability,” Dickinson said. “Conventional MRI scanners often reach noise levels that make patients uncomfortable. With our new scanner, this noise is greatly reduced and with certain specialized MRI brain exams, the scanner noise is completely eliminated.”

In addition to MRI technology, services include nuclear medicine, computerized axial tomography, X-ray, bone density, ultrasound and mammography.

For information, call (225) 658-4325.