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Dartmouth General Hospital unveils new MRI suite


The Dartmouth General Hospital in Dartmouth, N.S., officially cut the ribbon on its new MRI suite Monday.

The 1,100-square foot space houses a new 1.5T MRI unit. It also has an orthopedics package that can create 3-D images of people’s hips and knees, as well as the ability to clearly see ligaments and tendons.

“The brain and spinal cord and joint imaging, for example, are areas, internal derangements of joints, are areas that CT, for example, doesn't do nearly as well. And some of the solid organ imaging in the body and the pelvis, (there’s) huge benefits with MRI,” says Dartmouth General radiologist Dr. Graham Joy.

“MRI is really valuable for soft tissue imaging as compared to something like CT that's good for bone or cortical bone, so when we add that to our spectrum of imaging toolbox, it's a big, big benefit."

Monday’s event marked a big milestone – the MRI is the hospital’s first.

Donors to the Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation contributed $2 million for the machine itself, and the province has pledged $10.9 to build the suite and keep it running.

Officials say it will “significantly increase capacity” to help tackle the year-long wait times for MRIs in Nova Scotia Health’s Central Zone.

A news release from the foundation also says the MRI will reduce the need for people to travel outside the Halifax-area for scans, or travel to the city for urgent ones.

The MRI suite will reportedly operate seven days week and serve 20-to-25 patients a day.

“We’re going to do an additional 400 patients a month, 5,000 patients a year, the current waitlist of 15,000 patients. So (it’s a) significant impact. We're expecting to improve on those numbers,” says Dartmouth General diagnostic imaging manager Sharon Hartling.

The Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation says the MRI unit weighs 26,000 pounds and had to be brought into the building through the roof.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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