New USC Sports Medicine Center home to SCís most powerful extremity MRI
By Matt Splett, School of Medicine, email@example.com
The University of South Carolina School of Medicine debuted the state’s highest powered extremity MRI Monday (May 21) during the grand opening of its new Sports Medicine Center.
The extremity magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, the first of its kind in South Carolina, delivers greater comforts to patients while providing superior imaging for physicians responsible for diagnosing a soft-tissue injury.
Unlike a traditional full-body MRI system, which can require patients lay motionless in an enclosed tube for a prolonged period of time, the extremity MRI takes place in an open environment. The patient sits in a padded chair beside the scanner. The joint requiring imaging — an elbow, wrist, hand, knee, foot or ankle — slides comfortably into the circular imaging device. During the scan, patients can tilt the chair back, read a book and enjoy the mobility not offered to them in a traditional full-body scan.
“Extremity MRI scans reduce the anxiety in patients who experience claustrophobia in an enclosed scanner,” said Dr. John Walsh, chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.
A powerful 1.5 Tesla magnet — comparable to a magnet in a full-body MRI system — produces a clear, quality image. Physicians depend upon these images in the diagnosis of soft tissue injuries.
“MRI is the most powerful imaging tool to aid in the diagnosis of soft tissue injuries,” Walsh said. “Our physicians love the extremity MRI technology, because it produces consistent quality images.”
Orthopaedic surgeons at USC will rely on the technology in diagnosing ligament tears, sprains, occult fractures that do not appear in x-rays, infections, tumor analysis and cartilage and tendon injuries.
The extremity MRI scanner is located in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine’s new Sports Medicine Center at Two Medical Park, Suite 104. The 3,000 square-foot center features seven exam rooms, a concussion testing room, consultation area and fully digital x-rays.
While athletes with joint injuries will benefit from the presence of the extremity MRI’s location, the technology is available to any referring physician.
“We encourage any physician requesting an MRI scan for a soft-tissue joint injury to consider USC’s Sports Medicine Center,” said Walsh. “We are excited to offer this state-of-the-art technology to residents of the Midlands and beyond.”
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