Bill's Blog

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Digital Imaging in Medicine

I had an MRI done on my back the other day and had a few observations.

(Before I go on further, I should say that my only other MRI experience was 8 years ago and in a German hospital, so I don't know how accurately I can compare the two experiences)

To start off, this wasn't your daddy's MRI machine. Gone are the days of laying on a slab and being buried in the wall. This machine still came with the slab to lay on, but it was located in the center of the room and was open all around. Other than the overhead component that is still 3 inches from your nose, even the most claustrophobic should be able to handle this.

Also improved was the noise level. Instead of head phones trying miserably to drown out the sound, there were speakers positioned around the room. U2 did an admirable job overcoming the humming and ticking the MRI created as it did its thing. Next time though, I think I'll take a CD of my choice.

The thing that surprised me the most was what I left the office with. Last time, I had to wait in the waiting room for maybe 45 minutes for the films to be ready. Now, I left almost as soon as I finished paying my co-pay with films and a burned disc for my records. Talk about fast.

I didn't check out the disc until last night (and I don't go to the back specialist for another month), but the disc amazed me. I expected to find just the images of my scan on there. What it actually contained was a customized program that displays the images in a useful way for doctors - I am guessing. I tried to bypass the program and just check out the images, but even though the disc said I could use any image viewer to open them, they wouldn't budge. I expected jpg or tiff images, but instead I found some proprietary file sans extension. I didn't play with it too long, but I am hoping there is a way to convert them to something more useful...then I could upload my back images all over the web. LOL!


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