University of Alberta Hospital installs 3T MRI
November 2, 2016
EDMONTON – The University of Alberta Hospital has installed the city’s first clinical 3T MRI, which is expected to serve 10,000 patients a year. Its arrival marks a major milestone in the University Hospital Foundation’s Brain Centre Campaign, as the first 3T MRI dedicated to outpatient diagnosis and care.
The 3 Tesla MRI will be used to help in the care of patients with neurological and mental health conditions, including epilepsy, concussion, stroke, depression and neuro-developmental disorders.
Dr. Bill Anderson (pictured), director of diagnostic imaging for the Edmonton Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS), hails the 3T MRI as a “godsend from the community.”
The technology will make diagnosing brain conditions and finding potentially life-threatening brain tumours and malformations faster and more accurate. The new 3T will also enable doctors to use the most advanced imaging techniques to develop treatment plans that include surgery.
“Our world-leading researchers have developed new ways of looking at the brain. Doctors can now use those techniques in the clinical setting,” says Dr. Anderson.
Images taken with the 3T scanner are so crisp and clear they can provide pinpoint guidance for delicate surgeries and advanced procedures, such as Gamma Knife radiosurgery, which spares the patient the scalpel as it focuses close to 200 tiny beams of radiation on the surgical target.
The Tesla is a unit used to measure the strength of a magnetic field. Twice as powerful as a 1.5T, the 3T MRI can scan up to four times faster, easing the need for nervous patients, including children, to lie perfectly still in a confined space for such long periods of time. As well, since it uses magnetism instead of ionizing radiation, it’s safe for children and pregnant women.
Cathy Osborne, senior operating officer of University of Alberta Hospital, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and Kaye Edmonton Clinic, adds: “The new clinical 3T MRI will elevate brain care at the University of Alberta Hospital by providing doctors with advanced, crystal-clear images of the brain.”
Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of AHS, says Alberta’s trusts and foundations play a vital role in advancing healthcare delivery throughout the province.
“Through Alberta Health Services’ commitment to excellence, we strive to be our best and give our best,” says Dr. Yiu. “Initiatives like the Brain Centre Campaign allow us to work with our foundations toward a shared vision of being able to do our collective best for patients and families. Together, we will contribute to creating healthy communities in Alberta.”
The new 3T, which is now fully operational for patient use, is located in the future home of the Scott and Brown Families Gamma Knife & Advanced Imaging Centre at the University of Alberta Hospital. The centre will be completed in 2017 with the arrival of Western Canada’s first Gamma Knife.