Date: 10/20/2011

Hospital adds Open MRI to second location, imaging center in Crown Point

For patient comfort and convenience, Community Hospital has expanded and renovated MRI services in two locations. Together with Alliance Imaging, Community Hospital began offering appointments for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) services Oct. 1 at the new Community Hospital MRI Center in Crown Point. The center is located at 5363 Commerce Boulevard, near the corner of U.S. 30 and Burr Street.

In addition, the existing MRI at the Community Diagnostic Center in Munster is being renovated to an Open MRI format. A $1.7 million Panorama 1.0T Open MRI from Philips Medical Systems is being installed at the Diagnostic Center building, 10020 Donald S. Powers Drive. Patients will be treated on the new MRI beginning in late November.

MRI technology enables doctors to take highly defined images of the body’s interior organs and tissues. The equipment uses a strong magnet and pulses of radio waves to take pictures inside the body, and is particularly useful for imaging the brain and spine, as well as the soft tissues of joints and the interior structure of bones.

For some patients who may have a fear of closed spaces or those who become anxious in a standard MRI, Community Hospital is adding an Open MRI option in Munster. Instead of a tube open only at the ends, an open MRI also has open areas on both sides. The Panorama 1.0T features the widest patient gap of any high-field MRI system with a fast scanning capability.

Each patient is able to customize their experience through sights and sounds by choosing from a variety of music and visual images on the walls of the room. This feature can create a more calming experience and put anxious patients at ease, which helps make the procedure more comfortable and time go by quicker.

“Both MRI systems offer an unprecedented combination of clinical excellence and patient satisfaction,” said Donald Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital. “Our physicians have the advantage of using the latest in imaging technology for high quality diagnostics. And, for patients who find it difficult to lie still in a narrow space, our Open MRIs are a great alternative.”

MRI images can provide better contrast between normal and diseased tissue than those produced by other imaging techniques. This sensitivity allows MRI to define or highlight fine variations in tissues deep within the body. It is also particularly useful in diagnosing tumors and other lesions early in development. Doctors may also prescribe an MRI scan to more fully investigate earlier findings of other imaging techniques.

“Getting this power and clarity from either MRI design gives us a lot of flexibility,” said Jonathon Lee, M.D., Medical Director of Radiology for Community Hospital. “We are able to give our patients a comfortable experience and get the most effective results.”

The Open MRI at the Community Diagnostic Center is the second of its kind available to patients at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System: Community Hospital in Munster; St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. In March of 2008, Community Hospital Outpatient Centre in St. John was the first site to provide patients with the Open MRI experience.

For more information on our advanced outpatient diagnostic radiology services, click here. To make an appointment for an MRI at the Community Diagnostic building in Munster or the new Community Hospital MRI Center in Crown Point, call 219-836-4599.