Today’s news:

Flushing Hospital unveils roomier medical scanner

Flushing Hospital Medical Center has introduced a new MRI system designed to alleviate the anxiety and apprehension that plague some patients who are claustrophobic during the procedure.

MRI, which stands for “magnetic resonance imaging,” machines have long been used by hospitals as a means of generating detailed pictures of the inner workings of the human body.

The process of obtaining these images, however, can be a stressful experience, as it requires patients to lie motionless in an enclosed tube for upwards of an hour while the test is completed.

Flushing Hospital is hoping to change that.

“Our new MRI system will definitely ease anxiety often faced by patients,” said Dr. Sabiha Raoof, chairman of the hospital’s Radiology Department. “Once you minimize apprehension, the entire procedure becomes much more comfortable. It’s a huge benefit to our patients and the community we serve.”

Flushing Hospital has purchased and began to use a Siemens Magnetom Espree MRI, which utilizes a shorter, more powerful magnet to complete the test quicker and over a smaller portion of the body.

With the new machine, Flushing Hospital said it is able to conduct most MRI tests more rapidly — in about 15 to 30 minutes — and with the patient’s head outside of the machine to alleviate some of the anxiety associated with the test.

“In addition to reducing anxiety, the design of the bore has an increased weight limit. The weight limit of our MRI is 500 pounds, compared to older conventional MRI systems with weight capacities of 350−400 pounds,” said Russell Smith, administrator of the Radiology Department.

For more information on Flushing Hospital’s MRI system or to schedule an appointment for a MRI test, call 718−321−6137.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, ext. 138.

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