Radiology Add-On Will Help Image Smaller Body Parts More Comfortably

Some new accessories for the hospital's MRI machine will certainly make a difference in comfort for local patients.

The Humboldt County Hospital District Board of Trustees approved a "musculoskeletal flex coil package" for the imaging unit at its July 29 meeting.

The $23,000 purchase is expected to draw another 87 studies a year to the Radiology Department, and potentially create a new revenue stream.

But HGH Administrative Director Pam Wickkiser said more importantly, the new package will dramatically increase the comfort of patients who need to image knees, hands, shoulders, elbows, forearms, femurs and other small body parts.

"Without this new equipment," said Wickkiser, "there's just no easy way to image those parts; it's a very uncomfortable process."

Wickkiser said in the past, patients have had to place their arm over their head in an awkward position for 30 minutes.

"Many patients cannot stay in that position for 30 minutes," said Wickkiser, "so this is going to be a lot easier and more comfortable for them."

With the new equipment, technologists simply wrap the coils around the body part to be imaged, while a patient lies comfortably on his or her back for the duration of the exam.

Technologists can even wrap two of the coils together to image larger areas.

"We're excited about this new technology," said Wickkiser. "We promised our community we would continue to pursue the latest advancements in diagnostic imaging, and we have certainly tried to stay true to that pledge."

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Humboldt General Hospital's Radiology Department, please call (775) 623-1131.