Topeka Gains 3T MRI To Give Doctors Better Look

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - You might say radiologists have a magnetic attraction to the new 3T MRI scanner at Topeka's Stormont-Vail HealthCare.

It's because of the strength of the magnet inside. The "T" refers to tesla, which is a measurement of the strength of the magnet.

Dr. Johnannes Haynes, radiologist at Stormont-Vail, says the 3T MRI gives about 60 percent more signal or data from the patient compared to the 1.5T machine. He says that means a better acquistion of information and a better, clearer image.

Heyns says the images are especially useful for neurological issues and for some orthopedic cases. He says doctors can see small cranial nerves much better, as well as get a clearer picture of the smaller structures in areas like the hand. He says that means doctors are able to give a firmer diagnosis.

"Previously, we could only say we think that something might be the cause of it," he said. "Now, we can say this is the cause because we can see exactly what is wrong and that is the biggest benefit that we get."

Heyns says for a regular knee, hip or spine scan, the 1.5 tesla strength is perfectly fine. But for those specific questions about smaller structures, the 3T can fine tune the picture. In addition, it can be done in an easier, more comfortable way for the patient. The higher strength makes it able to compile data more quickly, which means patients spend less time inside the magnet.

Stormont has the only 3T-strength MRI in Topeka. The next closest are in Wichita and Kansas City.

People with certain metal in their bodies or extensive dental work may not be able to have the scan.