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New MRI Machine Caters To Claustrophobic And Obese Patients

The new, open MRI machine is the first of its kind in the state.

A new MRI machine in Bedford will allow Indiana University Health to serve more patients who are overweight or have phobias.

The older, smaller MRI system at IU Health Bedford was completely enclosed — and that meant there were plenty of patients who wouldn’t fit in the machine or just weren’t comfortable getting scanned.

But Manager of Imaging Services Chris Dixon says the new machine will allow the hospital to image patients they haven’t been able to in the past.

“On top of being a larger bore, a shorter distance front to back, open on both sides, the patients will also be able to not have their head and shoulders in the magnet unless those are in fact the things being imaged,” Dixon says.

Claustrophobia is a big problem with enclosed MRI machines. Radiologist Tim Loch says as many as one in ten patients were unable to complete the process before when they had to go all the way into the machine.

“Come and check it out,” Loch says. “A lot of people when they get here are surprised at how good experience it is and I think people will be really happy with what they have when they come here.”

The new MRI will also allow doctors to scan multiple body parts without moving the patient. It should be up and running sometime next month.

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