Region's Only Wide-Bore 3T MRI Available At Bassett, Patient Comfort And Crystal Clear Images Are Top Features

Cooperstown, N.Y. – The most advanced technology in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the wide-bore 3 Tesla MRI and it’s available at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown – the only hospital in the region to have this technology.

For patients, the wide opening of the 3T MRI makes the exam more comfortable than ever before, especially for those who may have had a claustrophobic reaction in other MRIs. Bassett’s new MRI also provides the doctor with exceptional image quality and detail.

“With this new technology, we’re seeing things we never saw before without surgery, like tumors in their earliest stages, tiny aneurysms and small cartilage tears,” says Lawrence Barnowsky, M.D., Bassett Medical Center radiologist. “It’s sort of like comparing older TV images to that of the newer high- definition flat screen monitors - - there is more detail, more information, thus improving diagnostic accuracy. Those little details make the difference in how the doctor treats the patient and helps with pre-surgical planning.”

“The 3 Tesla MRI is the latest in MRI technology today and uses digital broadband signal,” notes Chief of Radiology Dr. James Peters. Tesla refers to the strength of the magnetic field. Peters says, “With this new MRI, the clarity of the image is incredible. Just as important for the patient is the added space and comfort that comes with the 3T, which is the largest bore MRI made.” Patients who were not able to fit into an MRI before can now be accommodated and patients with back pain will be able to bend their legs for comfort. Additionally, the system will be able to capture usable images despite slight movements of patients, such as young children and those with certain movement disorders.

Magnetic resonance imaging uses radiofrequency waves and a strong magnetic field to produce the detailed images of internal organs and tissues necessary for doctors to evaluate a patient and determine the best course of treatment. MRI is used in diagnosing stroke, cancer, heart and vascular diseases, and orthopedic and neurological conditions. But, the difference between the correct diagnosis and treatment and the wrong diagnosis and treatment can sometimes depend on the magnet used. Even the so-called open MRIs in use now are dated technology and don’t have the magnetic field strength necessary to provide high resolution images and the detail the doctor needs to make the best decisions for the patient.

The new MRI will be extremely useful in screening women who are at high risk for early stage breast cancer or patients with dense breasts. The image clarity that the 3T produces will allow doctors to see tumors previously not able to be detected by mammograms and other screenings. “Often a woman will have something show up on a mammogram, but it might not be entirely clear whether it is a tumor or not,” said Barnowsky. “This MRI will allow us to make a final determination with confidence because of the level of detail it offers the radiologist.”