A new 'mobile' magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit has arrived at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. (UHNBC)
The replacement of the UHNBC MRI is the first part of an overall strategy to help improve access to medical imaging technology in northern B.C., which will also see new MRI units in Terrace and Fort St. John. The medical imaging strategy is funded by the province and Northern Health.
Funding for the $2.8 million UHNBC MRI replacement comes from province ($1.7 million) and the Fraser Fort George Regional Hospital District ($1.1 million).
The mobile MRI provided by Siemens Healthcare is a fully-functional magnetic resonance imaging machine contained in a mobile transport unit. It is located on the UHNBC campus near the Nechako Centre on Alward Street, and will be in use for approximately three to four months while a new MRI suite is constructed at UHNBC. The existing UHNBC MRI has been in operation for the past 14 years.
Prince George was served by a mobile MRI shared with Interior Health prior to receiving a permanent machine in 2003. The existing MRI unit at UHNBC was state-of-the-art at the time; advancements in technology since that time mean the new MRI will provide significantly-enhanced diagnostic capabilities.
An MRI is a valuable test for medical professionals that use a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. Muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and other joint structures are often best seen with an MRI. In many cases MRI gives information about structures in the body that cannot be seen as well with an X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan.