New MRI machine puts power of comfort in patient's hands

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Most people associate having an MRI with being noisy, intimidating, and scary. Now, new technology at Summerville Medical Center is changing the way people feel about getting the exam.

50-year-old Howard Lehmann has had his fair share of MRI'S after fighting cancer and also having a double hip replacement.

Lehmann says while he is used to getting an MRI, it was never comfortable.

"It was like riding in a box cold and very stiff," Lehmann said.

Summerville Medical Center has now made the whole procedure more of a sight, sound and motion experience for the patient.

GE and a company called Visual Therapy developed an innovative Magnetic Resonance patient suite. The new suite gives patients the opportunity to take their senses to a whole new level and not focus on getting an MRI.

"During the entire process, instead of listening to the traditional jack-hammering or banging sound, they get nice peaceful ocean relaxation tunes," said Imaging Director Greg Williams.

Patients can choose the color lighting they want in the room as well as scenery and sound before the exam starts. You can even bring your iPod or iPad and watch a movie on the 70-inch flatscreen on the ceiling.

Another exciting feature is that it no longer takes an hour to have the exam. Instead, it's now only 20 to 30 minutes.

"It's a lot more comfortable. It's not as confining so its just a lot more open experience for the patients," Williams said.

The new suite can be used for patients of every age and can help calm patients who are claustrophobic.

Lehmann use to try to make himself fall asleep during the exam but now he is wide awake.

"I stay awake because you want to see exactly what's going on on the screen above you, and listen to the music."

Williams says there are only 21 caring Magnetic Resonance suites in the country.

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