What’s New In Brain MRIs? EVERYTHING.

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3T_am12By Dr. Philip Chao

Even now, many health care providers do not fully appreciate the benefits of higher tech MRI studies.  We have been committed to providing the highest quality MRI technology since 2007 when MRI Consultants opened its doors with the First 3T MRI in the First State.  A recent review article in Medscape, (http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/776272), completely turns around everything we know about MR imaging.  There are new techniques in imaging—3T MRI, MR spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, DWI and perfusion imaging—all of which are better than the routine post-contrast MRI study for lesion margin evaluation.  Our new office in Lewes has offered these techniques since 2011.  We have the technology and the experience and this was recognized by Dr. Chao’s peers in Delaware Today magazine 2012, which listed him as a Top Doc in Radiology.

Dr. Chao’s desire to provide the most advanced MRI imaging possible had led us to offer services other facilities do not.  Things like Metal Subtraction Imaging.  Indirect Arthrography.  Super high resolution studies—which can only be done at 3T.  Quantitative MRI which can measure white and grey matter and CSF.  Diffusion Tensor Imaging which picks up subtle brain trauma, alzheimers and even autism.  Proton spectroscopy.  Prostate MRI (which, at 3T does not require an invasive probe/coil).  3T Breast MRI which is 100% sensitive for breast cancer.  We understand that in these troubled “fiscal times,” even the very highest quality studies must be affordable.  We offer a super high quality abdomen study for $500 that is able to pick up smaller pancreatic cancers, smaller liver cancers and includes diffusion weighted imaging for free.  This new technique is up to 96% sensitive for cancer.  Ask us about our Out-of-Pocket discount for other tests as well.

3T_MRI_fm13We understand that some patients suffer from claustrophobia.  Our Newark facility has both a 3T MRI and an 18-channel, 1.5T wide OPEN BORE MRI scanner that produces pictures guaranteed to be as good as other CLOSED MRI pictures!  The American College of Radiology (“ACR”) said so!  When deciding where to go for an MRI, make sure the scanner that will be used for your test has been approved by the ACR.  It is your only way to be sure scanner is not too weak or too old to produce images that will help your doctor with a diagnosis.  If you schedule a 3T MRI at our Newark facility and find you simply can’t go through with it, we can just move you over to our Open Bore scanner—said to be the most spacious and least claustrophobic scanner available.  For those patients who know themselves to be extremely claustrophobic, we offer IV sedation at no additional charge—provided they have someone to drive them home afterwards!

Another question you should ask when considering where to go for an MRI is what CONTRAST is used.  While the contrasts used for MRI are very different from those used for CT scans, there are differences even amongst those used for MRI.  Some have been linked to a very rare, but very serious, dibilitating and incurable illness called Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (“NSF”). We have always been very careful to select contrasts that have NEVER been connected to NSF.  They cost a little more, but we think you’re worth it!  (www.safecontrast.com).  We use Multihance (at 1.5T), Prohance (at 3T) and Eovist (for patients with kidney problems).

REVEAL is new software that shows cancers as “light bulb” lesions.  Tumors actually light up on the screen like light bulbs!  We recently found a large cancer that turned out to be malignant with this technique—and we did it without any injections.  To learn more, do a web search for “diffusion weighted imaging of cancer.”

More information can be found at www.mriconsultants.net  and www.bestopenmri.net, or www.safecontrast.com.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Dr. Chao at 302 295-3367 (33MR).  We are here to help.

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.

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