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A New Generation of MRI Machines Comes to Tallahassee

Tom Flanigan

The medical procedure of having an MRI - magnetic resonance image - scan done can be uncomfortable and even frightening. But there's a new kind of MRI machine in Tallahassee that is more powerful and more patient-friendly than what has been available.

Even through a heavy closed door, the noise a conventional MRI machine makes resembles an electronic jackhammer. But the new machine at Tallahassee Diagnostic Imaging on Phillips Road is nearly silent in comparison. Not only is the new unit quieter, TDI President Dr. Timothy Sweeney, MD said it's also a lot roomier than older machines.

"The inside of the magnet, the space the patient's actually in, is much larger and much more accommodating," he said. "We essentially eliminate claustrophobia for 90% of even claustrophobic patients."

But Sweeney said the most important advantage is for the doctors who depend on the machine's images to make an accurate diagnosis.

"It is a significant advance both in the power of the machine as far as creating anatomic detail for us to look at patients and patient illnesses."

Previously, the closest machines of this caliber to Tallahassee were in Atlanta and Tampa. By the spring, Dr. Sweeney says a second of this new generation of MRI machines will be installed at Tallahassee Memorial.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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