Thank You, Delaware. We’re Five Years Old!

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3T_am12By Dr. Philip Chao

MRI Consultants opened its doors five years ago, at the beginning of a great recession!  And, we have done well.  One of the reasons I left my old office was that they refused to invest in new MRI equipment (like people who keep their old TV instead of switching to a hi-def flat screen).  They thought the old technology was “good enough” and that the new technology (3-Tesla and OPEN Bore magnets) was too expensive.  “Not ready yet,” they said.  MRI Consultants now has three state of the art MRI scanners—surely an example of the fastest growth in Delaware.  Oddly, while patients across the State are educating themselves and seeking out quality MRI, many of their doctors do not seem to be doing the same—apparently believing that there is no difference in image quality between one MRI scanner and the next.

Our OPEN Bore 1.5 MRI scanner has 18 channels and is able to produce images that rival (or surpass) any 1.5 “closed” MRI in the State.  In addition to crystal clear images of your spine or knee, it also provides the least claustrophobic and spacious experience available today.  It even has the latest cardiac and angiography pulse sequences.  Its advanced software includes things like BLADE, which compensates for patient movement.  We have hundreds of patients where BLADE picked up the abnormality that the routine scan did not.

MRI Consultants opened its doors five years ago with a 3T MRI scanner.  Our experience led us to select another, even more advanced, 3T MRI scanner for our new office in Lewes!  This newest magnet is not only a 3T, it has 32 channels—which makes it almost as strong as a 6-T MRI (if such a thing existed)!  This new MRI scanner is similar to the one at the NEURA Institute in Australia for advanced functional and trauma research.  It can do diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), which is the next frontier in brain imaging.  It detects Alzheimer’s disease.  It can detect the subtle changes in the fiber tracts of the brain which are damaged when a bomb explodes, or when the brain is damaged in an accident.  1.5T MRI scanners simply cannot see these changes accurately.

3T scanners see things more clearly and more quickly than weaker scanners.  Put simply, MRIs are like digital cameras.  The more megapixels (or, in this case, higher the “T”), the sharper the images.  Get the best.  Doing so might spare you unnecessary surgery!  A 3T MRI scanner can do breast MR spectroscopy, prostate spectroscopy and whole body diffusion weighted imaging (DWIBS).  While these techniques are not yet reimbursed by insurances, we are able to offer them each at a very low out-of-pocket price of $500.  We have a growing number of referrals from Johns Hopkins and University of Pennsylvania where doctors insist on 3T quality.  These patients no longer have to drive all the way to Baltimore or Philadelphia.  3T quality is now available to all Delawareans, at either our Newark or Lewes office.  A 3T MRI costs the same as a 1.5 MRI or a 1.0 MRI or even a 0.3 or 0.4 MRI (yes, as hard as it is to believe, there are still MRI scanners that are so old, they don’t even have a magnet-strength of 1.5).

CONTRAST is an issue of growing concern.  Using contrast can change the diagnosis as much as 25% of the time.  While the contrasts used for MRI is completely different from the contrasts used in CT scans, there are several kinds of contrast approved for MRI use.  They are generally safe, but the three most commonly used have been linked to a very rare—and truly horrible—disease called Nephrogenic Systemic Sclerosis (“NSF”).  MRI Consultants spends the extra few dollars per dose for PROHANCE, a contrast which has NEVER been linked to NSF.  And, for patients who CANNOT get an MRI due to impaired renal function, we provide EOVIST, which is excreted by the liver.  Ask your MRI provider which contrast they use.  It matters.

Because of our emphasis on patient care, we are aware that many people today are without medical insurance—or have plans with very high deductibles.  To help provide access to quality MRI, we have an Out-of-Pocket price of $500 for a non-contrast study.  A study with contrast costs an additional $200.  We are also aware that there are people who are truly claustrophobic.  In addition to having the most spacious, least claustrophobic MRI scanner made today, we provide FREE IV SEDATION to our claustrophobic patients.  We are aware that if you have to have an MRI, you are understandably anxious to get the results of your test as quickly as possible.  We provide same-day results, AND you leave our office with a FREE CD of your complete MRI study.  You are free to look at it at home, make copies of it, and take it to your follow-up appointments.  We are also aware that navigating the insurance issues surrounding car accidents and workers compensation can seem to be overwhelming.  We provide help getting these studies approved by your insurance company.

MRI Consultants opened its doors five years ago, and we look forward to many more years of serving the MRI needs of Delawareans.  Remember, if you live in Delaware, you are never more than 45 minutes from a 3T MRI!

Dr. Philip Chao graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and was Scholar of the House. He continued his studies at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, receiving his medical degree in 1983. After a transitional internship year at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown NY, Dr. Chao did his residency in Radiology at Brooklyn’s SUNY Health Science Center (1984-1987), where he became Chief Resident. He stayed on to complete a fellowship in Neuroradiology (1987-1988). Dr. Chao has been interested in MRI technology since its very beginning – the first MRI scan took place in 1981 while he was pursuing his medical studies. The University of Pennsylvania, where Dr. Chao was both a Body MRI Fellow (1988-1990) and a Neuroradiology Fellow (1989-1990), was at the heart of the development of this technology and Dr. Chao was able to work with pioneers in MRI on the first GE Signa 1.5T (tesla) scanner. His advanced research and specializations complete, Dr. Chao left the University of Pennsylvania for a position as Director of MRI in Wilmington DE – a position he held for 14 years. Dr. Chao eventually left that position to create the best MRI center in Delaware, using the very latest technology: 3T MRI. While 3T (tesla) scanners have been used for scanning research patients since 2002, these advanced, more powerful MRI scanners only became available for clinical use in 2004. Dr. Chao worked hard to bring 3T technology to Delaware and in February 2007, MRI Consultants, LLC began operating the first 3T scanner in the State. 3T is the newest horizon for MRI.

Best Open MRI

302 838 7800

also visit our new office:

MRI Consultants Lewes

17252-9 N. Village Main Blvd

Lewes, DE 19958

302 827 4251

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