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Mayfair Diagnostics is now offering new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services at our Mayfair Place clinic. We have been providing community-based, privately paid MRI services since 1999, and recently installed a new, higher-strength magnet at the end of March. Mayfair Diagnostics Mayfair Place now has two magnets – one 1.5T and one 3T.

“MRI is an excellent tool for diagnostic imaging and is often the suggested modality for certain pathologies. It can also be ordered when more detail is needed or the cause of symptoms is unclear on other types of imaging,” says Rick Myszkowski, lead MRI technologist and Mayfair Place Clinic Manager.

An MRI scan creates images by exposing hydrogen atoms within our body to a magnetic field to control the direction and frequency at which hydrogen protons spin. A radiofrequency pulse specific to the “resonance” of hydrogen is directed toward the area of the body to be examined, while smaller magnets are turned off and on rapidly, in a specific way, to alter the magnetic field on a small, but localized level.

Because normal and abnormal tissue respond differently to an alteration in their magnetic field, a computer can interpret the data and convert it into a picture. Images can be taken of any part of the body from a variety of angles and directions.

An MRI’s magnetic field strength is measured in teslas (T). A stronger magnet has the potential to generate more detailed or faster imaging. Having two magnet strengths will provide greater options to use MRI to more specifically meet the imaging needs of various medical conditions.

While a 3T MRI can provide more information for a diagnosis, not all patients will benefit from imaging performed at this strength and in that case the 1.5T becomes a more appropriate option. A patient’s medical and family history, risk factors, type and duration of symptoms, and body part of concern will affect the decision on which type of imaging is most appropriate.

“For some patients, 3T MRI could be very beneficial, and for others the 1.5T is sufficient or even preferred,” says Dr. Shamir Patel, Executive Chair and radiologist at Mayfair Diagnostics. “For example, the new services will provide enhanced imaging of joints for many musculoskeletal concerns to help accurately diagnose the cause for symptoms.”

MRI is very good at examining soft tissues such as joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as small peripheral nerves. Pelvic imaging, including prostate MRI exams, also greatly benefit from 3T MRI. The highly sensitive diagnostic information that 3T imaging can provide for the prostate can be very helpful in determining the management of prostate-related disease.

“Whether it’s identifying a targeted area for treatment with physical therapy, surgery or an image-guided therapeutic injection, finding an illness early, or excluding serious pathology, a clear diagnosis can provide peace of mind for patients. Ultimately it’s about taking care of our patients,” says Dr. Patel.

MRI images are taken using a strong magnetic field, which can attract metal objects or may cause metal in your body to move. This means that before an MRI can be performed all internal metal objects will need to be confirmed as safe for an MRI. This is especially true for the stronger magnet. Some patients may also find the inside of the MRI scanner uncomfortably small or be concerned with the loud knocking noises caused by changes in the magnetic field, which require ear protection.

To determine which imaging type is appropriate for a patient’s circumstances, a health care practitioner will often review the risks and benefits associated with each type of imaging. MRI exams are available in hospitals and covered under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, but they can also be performed as private pay exams which complement the public health care system.

“Our community-based private exams serve patients who, for a variety of reasons, may be unable to wait for an MRI within the public system and choose to pay for their exams privately,” says Dr. Patel.

Whether public or private, medical imaging must be requested by a health care practitioner who will provide a requisition and preparation instructions for your exam.

Once your exam is completed, your images will be reviewed by a specialized radiologist who will compile a report that is sent to your doctor. Mayfair Diagnostics is owned and operated by over 50 radiologists who hold fellowship training in all radiology sub-specialties, such as neuroradiology, body, cardiac, musculoskeletal imaging, etc. This allows for an expert review of your imaging by the applicably trained radiologist.

Mayfair Diagnostics offers MRI imaging as private pay services at our Mayfair Place location. For more information, visit our MRI services page.

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