NEW SCANNER: SouthernX Radiology’s clinic director and on-site radiologist Dr Peter O’Hare and chief technologist Simon Southern with the new MRI scanner.
NEW SCANNER: SouthernX Radiology’s clinic director and on-site radiologist Dr Peter O’Hare and chief technologist Simon Southern with the new MRI scanner. Craig Warhurst

Million-dollar scanner offers a good prognosis

FLASHING lights and a slow moving crane in the early hours of last Wednesday morning announced a groundbreaking delivery for SouthernX Radiology Gympie.

The Henry St medical imaging and diagnostic provider received a 6.5 tonne, $1.5 million MRI scanner - the first scanner of its kind in the Sunshine Coast health region.

It was a delicate operation executed with precision as the hefty machine was winched into position.

Clinic director and fulltime on-site radiologist Peter O'Hare said the installation of the new machine was a major investment.

"We are proud to be able to continue SouthernX's 30-year plus commitment to Gympie by increasing the local community's access to vital MRI services," he said.

Chief technologist at the clinic, Simon Southern, paid tribute to the meticulous planning and engineering to install the machine.

"The floor needed to be reinforced to take the weight and additional electricity was required," he said.

"The staff and I are really excited to be able to offer the service."

MRI is an important medical diagnostic tool, with particular use for imaging soft tissues such as the brain and spinal cord, ligaments and muscles, liver and pelvic organs and other tissues difficult to show on the standard X-ray or CT examinations.

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the diagnostic tool uses strong magnets and radiofrequency pulses to generate signals from the body.

The first MRI scan was performed in 1977 and the process is radiation-free.

Extremely strong magnetic fields can affect older pacemaker function and metal objects in the room.

An MRI scan takes between 10 to 30 minutes, but can take up to two hours in some cases.

CT scans, meanwhile, take under five minutes so are often used in emergency rooms.

SouthernX Radiology Gympie may be found at 8 Henry St.