The European Scanning Centre (ESC) in Cardiff prides itself on its friendly and relaxed environment. The centre situated in Cardiff Gate Business Park contains the only Open and Upright MRI scanner in Wales and has been carefully designed with patient comfort in mind. The Cardiff branch is the third European Scanning Centre to open in the UK, following sites in London and Manchester, both housing The Paramed Open and Upright MRI scanner.
Most MRI scanners require patients to lie down inside of a closed tunnel, meaning that some can feel trapped as the machinery whirrs around them. Staying still is vital for clear images, but claustrophobic feelings can lead to people moving around, hampering the results of the scan.
The Paramed Open and Upright MRI scanner, allows patients to stand or sit while the scan is performed around them. It is completely open in front, behind and above the patient creating a non-claustrophobic environment. Not only does this help patients feel at ease, it can help diagnostic effectiveness by scanning patients in their ‘position of pain’. This unique ability increases the accuracy and relevance of the report as many symptoms affecting our spines and joints are appreciated in the upright position. In the spine, this can be used to expose conditions such as vertebral slipping, and disc herniation.
Melanie Jones, Radiographer and Centre Manager for Cardiff, has worked with MRI for over 30 years and has witnessed how MRI imaging is being used more frequently. As demand increases, this has created a demographic of people who can’t or don’t want to use a conventional closed bore scanner. As a result of this, ESC decided to create an environment that would achieve the same result as a closed MRI, but in a more comfortable setting. This has significant benefits for reporting radiologists, who receive better-quality imaging from patients who are more relaxed in their surroundings.
The scan room is spacious, allowing bariatric patients and those with limited mobility, space to get themselves comfortable. The team have taken a holistic approach to the patient experience, investing in ‘relax-vision’ panels to increase the open feeling of the room. Appointments are not time-restricted and up to an hour can be allocated for each examination. During the scan, patients are able to watch television, listen to the radio or select their music of choice.
Audio facilities allow radiographers to communicate with patients throughout the scan, and the viewing window ensures that both the patient and the radiographer are always in the line of vision.
Dr Paul Jenkins, Medical Director, explained: “We’re excited to be able to offer the only open MRI scanner to patients in Wales and the south of England. The easy access to Cardiff Gate from the M4 was a contributing factor in deciding the location of the new clinic.”
The team are happy to offer a tour of the centre to prospective patients and referring clinicians to discuss how the scanner works, and all staff are equipped to deal with any queries or concerns you may have. ESC are recognised by all insurance companies and imaging reports are available within 24-48 hours.
For more information or to book an appointment, please call the team on 02920 731 654.