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Cooper Clinic installs $1.8 million MRI machine

Cooper Clinic on Friday (Dec. 28) received a $1.8 million dollar piece of equipment that will soon allow the physician-owned medical group to double its MRI capability.

With the installation of the GE OptimaTM MR450W 1.5T Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology, Cooper Clinic will offer two fully-operational MRI suites, noted a Clinic statement/

The OptimaTM provides a wider bore than previous MRI models, meaning there is more space inside the machine, and patients may enter the MRI feet-first. These are key factors for patients affected by claustrophobia. Additionally, the OptimaTM offers a 500-pound weight capacity and a table cushion that helps alleviate discomfort from pressure points. 

Dr. Rebecca Fleck, Cooper’s chief medical officer, said the second MRI is needed in order to expedite patient scheduling.

“More than 100 patients per week are being scanned with our single MRI and still some patients are being scheduled more than a week later. Now, with the additional equipment, patients requiring an MRI will be scheduled either the same day or within a day or two,” Fleck said.

The size and weight of the MRI required a crane and a floating dolly system to move it through a large opening in the building which had been created to accommodate the delivery.

The new MRI is expected to be fully operational by mid-February following installation and training by the manufacturer, GE, and certification of the MRI by the American College of Radiology.

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“MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies to generate detailed anatomical images of bone and soft organ tissue without the use of radiation. Physicians often utilize MRI to help diagnose the cause of illness, determine the degree of injury, or obtain additional information about problems detected on other radiologic studies,” Dr. Stephen Heim, Cooper Clinic orthopedic surgeon, said in the statement.

Founded in 1920, Cooper Clinic provided the first Cardiac CT and the first Lower Radiation CT, and offers the first and only Bilateral Breast MRI for early detection of breast cancer.  Based in Fort Smith, Cooper Clinic physicians practice in 25 specialties and subspecialties at 16 locations. 

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