Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Open Scanner Is Open to Everyone; Health Reporter HELEN RAE Explains How an Open MRI Scanner Is Being Used for Claustrophobic and Obese Patients in the North East

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Open Scanner Is Open to Everyone; Health Reporter HELEN RAE Explains How an Open MRI Scanner Is Being Used for Claustrophobic and Obese Patients in the North East

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

A TYNESIDE health clinic is operating the only open-sided MRI scanner in the North East for patients who are claustrophobic or obese.

MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging - scans are used for a range of essential diagnostic procedures including suspected cancer investigations, back problems and sports injuries.

The usual closed MRI scanner found in hospitals is a tunnel-like device which the patient enters lying down and remains inside for around 40 minutes until the procedure is complete.

However, the open MRI scanner at the Jesmond-based Newcastle Clinic doesn't have the restrictive sides so it is suitable for those patients with a fear of confined spaces and for larger people.

Now patients from across the region are being urged to ask their GP or consultant about the open MRI scanner, which is free for them on the NHS.

Shaun Fryer, Billingham-based managing director of Newcastle Clinic, said: "Normally those with claustrophobia or who are larger would be unable to use a closed MRI scanner.

"Our open-sided MRI scanner doesn't have restrictive sides to it so the patient is not hemmed-in in the same way, making it possible for those with claustrophobia and who are larger or clinically obese to benefit."

"Importantly, if a GP or consultant is aware that a patient is larger or has a fear of confined spaces then a free appointment through the NHS can be given at Newcastle Clinic via doctor's referral. We also offer free return transport to Newcastle for our patients."

Newcastle Clinic has a 25-strong team comprised of radiologists, radiographers, nurses and specialist physicians and support staff providing the use of equipment such as digital x-ray imaging, an image intensifier used for pain relief injections, the new MRI scanner and 10 consulting rooms.

Liz Storey, Newcastle Clinic radiographer, said: "We are making these particular patients aware that they can have a free MRI scan, often with little or no delay for an appointment, and are urging them to ask their GP or consultant about an open MRI scanner.

"We understand that people are often very anxious when coming for their appointments here and we pride ourselves on knowing how to put people at ease in a professional but friendly environment. …

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