Fear enclosed spaces? St. Elizabeth’s new MRI scanners offer more space and comfort


OK, now you’re in a bit of a panic. You hurt your shoulder, and the doctor ordered an MRI.  To say that you dread the idea of lying still for 30 minutes inside the MRI machine is an understatement.

To help patients who might feel anxious or nervous about enclosed spaces, St. Elizabeth now offers new, state-of-the-art MRI scanners that are more spacious than older scanners. And, they create high-quality images, faster than ever, to help doctors diagnose what’s bothering you.

“This new technology will change people’s perceptions of what an MRI experience is like,” says Erin Wesselman, ambulatory radiology manager for St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “It’s more comfortable and less intimidating.”

The new units feature openings, called bores, that are about 70 centimeters in diameter. That’s about four inches wider than older scanners.

“Since it’s a wider, shorter scanner, more of your body is out of the machine,” says Wesselman. “It’s a better experience for people who are claustrophobic.”

Doctors like them because they use digital frequencies to create high-definition images””better images than you get with traditional open-style scanners and older MRI units.


St. Elizabeth’s new, wider MRI scanners also:

  • Create advanced images of the heart’s intricate structures.
  • Allow radiologists to see around metal implants in the body, such as those used for knee and hip replacements.
  • Correct for motion. If you move, the technician can still get a good image.
  • Support patients who weigh up to 550 pounds. Older MRI units had a 440-pound limit.

Still feel a little anxious? St. Elizabeth invites you to visit the MRI center before your actual exam.

Technicians will provide your favorite music, an iPod hookup or goggles for TV viewing.

Typically, scans take less than 30 minutes, versus 45 minutes or more for traditional open-style scanners.

“We offer people an easier MRI experience,” says Wesselman.

For your convenience, St. Elizabeth offers MRI services  in many locations – Edgewood, Ft. Thomas, Florence, Covington, Grant County, Alexandria, Hebron, and starting in January, Independence.

To make an appointment, patients can call St. Elizabeth Central Scheduling at (859) 655-7400.

In January 2017: A powerful, new 3T MRI scanner will join St. Elizabeth’s fleet of MRI imaging units. The new 3T also has a wider opening. It’s ideal for prostate and advanced neurological work.