New technology at Three Springs MRI will allow the office on the Mercy Regional Medical Center campus to provide more detailed images of injuries, bones and organs for the thousands of patients who have MRIs in the area each year.
The 3 Tesla MRI machine at the business relies on a stronger magnet than older magnetic-resonance-imaging machines and produces crisper images that provide more information to doctors to inform their diagnosis and plan for a patient’s care, said Shawn Putnam, manager of operations with Three Springs MRI.
“We are able to get higher image quality for better surgical planning by using the 3 Tesla MRI unit,” Putnam said.
Three Springs MRI decided to invest in a 3 Tesla MRI because physicians in the area were sending so many patients to Denver, Albuquerque or Grand Junction for the higher quality scans, Putnam said.
The business serves about 2,200 patients a year, and Putnam hopes to serve many more with the new technology. Patients come to Three Springs MRI by referral.
A 3 Tesla MRI is desirable because it can provide noninvasive prostate scans, he said.
Older MRI machines require health care providers to insert a coil into a man’s rectum to scan his prostate, Putnam said. The scans are needed to treat prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate, he said.
The 3 Tesla MRI can also pick up on tiny tendon tears or fractures in a bone that wouldn’t be visible on an older machine, said Kirstin Snooks, an MRI tech with Three Springs MRI.
However, the machine is limited because it cannot be used on patients with a certain stent, a tube used to keep arteries open, Putnam said. Patients with that stent are referred to Mercy Regional Medical Center, which has an MRI machine with a less powerful magnet.
Three Springs MRI is a for-profit company owned by Centura Health and a local physician group. The business purchased the 3 Tesla MRI with financial backing from Centura, Putnam said.
The price of an MRI at the business is not going up, he said. Prices for an MRI at the company vary from about $725 to $1,100 for a self-paying customer, according to the company’s website.