Starting on Aug. 23, a new, more spacious MRI scanner will be available for patients. The new Magnetom Altea 1.5T uses advanced technology to deliver higher-quality images and reduce exam times by up to 50 percent.

MRI scans can help doctors diagnose a wide range of conditions, from sports injuries to different types of cancer.  “If you have a prettier picture, a higher resolution image, it allows you to make the diagnosis that much easier, that much quicker with a smaller degree of doubt,” says IU Health Morgan radiology medical director John Alexander, MD.

The new scanner will also help patients save time by no longer commuting to get the same quality imaging. Previously, some patients needed to travel to Bloomington for more thorough exams. “If their orthopedic surgeon wanted them to have a knee MRI, for example, but wanted it to have a more detailed type of scan, they can now have that done here at IU Health Morgan,” explains Dr. Alexander. “Now we have the same capabilities.”

In addition, the new system features a larger bore (the tunnel where patients are inside of the MRI) to make them feel more comfortable.  “Patients who may initially have been claustrophobic on some of the older machines are going to potentially be able to tolerate this newer scanner just because there’s more room,” says Dr. Alexander.

Installing the new unit, which weighs more than four tons, required a carefully coordinated effort. The project included removing two large pieces of glass at the team entrance to the facility and building a ramp to roll the scanner to its resting place in the radiology department.

For patients, the new scanner will mean less travel, more reliable images for diagnoses, and more comfort. For doctors, it means new possibilities. Dr. Alexander: “I’ve always been impressed with this machine; it is a true workhorse. It does a great job serving communities very, very well.”