Your Healthcare Connection – MRI Imaging at Olympia Orthopaedics

tacoma mri scan
A trip to the MRI Clinic at Olympia Orthopaedics Associates includes not only state of the art technologies but a compassionate staff.


tacoma mri scan
A trip to the MRI Clinic at Olympia Orthopaedics Associates includes not only state of the art technologies but a compassionate staff.

“Let’s schedule a MRI.”  The words spoken by your doctor that signal the next step in your diagnosis. As a patient we are thankful for the vast array of diagnostic tools available and information they provide, but we are not always thrilled to be the one to need them.  However, when a MRI is prescribed, you can rest easy.  A trip to the MRI Clinic at Olympia Orthopaedics  includes not only state of the art technologies, but also a staff full of compassionate people who will do anything – yes ANYTHING – to make sure you are comfortable and feel safe.

Housed within their beautiful new Westside Olympia facility, the MRI clinic is available to current Oly Ortho patients as well as those being referred from doctors outside the group.  The clinic showcases Oly Ortho’s dedication to the best equipment for MRI, but also exemplifies their overarching dedication to patient care and comfort.  With this in mind, the construction planning committee didn’t simply layout the rooms for patients and equipment; they went straight to the talented and experienced staff for their input.

The Oly Ortho staff helped create a space with patient experience as number one – spacious and private changing rooms, a comfortable internal waiting area – along with an exam room and office layout fostering collaboration among the MRI team. This layout allows every employee to hear a voice of need or concern no matter where they are in the clinic.  This is especially important when patients are undergoing a procedure that can produce anxiety.

And the staff will do whatever it takes to make the patient feel safe, secure, and in-control of the situation without compromising the diagnostic quality of the MRI.  They go to great lengths to make each patient comfortable and actively train staff in techniques to help claustrophobic patients –the biggest concern in MRI.  The entire staff in the MRI clinic are committed to compassionate care but along with it, have maintained a perfect safety record, well exceeding the industry norm.  A motto hangs on the wall in the clinic states, “They may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.”  The staff live by this motto each day.

Ok, you may think, but what exactly is a MRI?  To begin with, a MRI is not an X-ray, which is a diagnostic tool we are all familiar with.  X-rays involve ionizing radiation while MRI uses a magnet.  There is no ionizing radiation in this procedure.  This information alone is a relief to many.  X-rays only show bone detail and limited soft tissue detail, while an MRI shows muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves, all soft tissues.  This complete “picture” of your body assists doctors in their diagnosis of issues that are often hidden deep within joints or tissue.  Another significant difference is that MRIs are 3-D, while X-rays show only one view of the bone or joint.

I must have looked a bit puzzled still so the staff shared the perfect analogy of how MRI works to help doctors diagnose pain or injury.  “If you look at a loaf of bread and take a picture of it from the top or side – that is like an x-ray.  Slice that bread, so you can look at each piece all the way around – that is an MRI.”  Ah-ha.

To examine that loaf of bread – your knee or wrist, in reality – patients have three options in the Oly Ortho MRI Clinic.  Two whole body scanners are available to image the trunk of the body or to perform a brain scan.   In addition, an extremity scanner is used for wrists, ankles, knees, feet.  If you can extend it away from your body can be scanned by the “high field” or full magnet strength extremity scanner.  Having access to this smaller, and less anxiety producing, scan offers an option to patients looking to avoid the full body scan.

If a full scan is ordered you do have two choices.  The traditional “tube” style scanner, familiar to many, consists of a long, narrow tube where the patient must holding very still during the entire scan.  The other option at Oly Orthoa is a short, wide tube.  This particular scanner was purchased to help more claustrophobic patients.  For about 75% of the scan, the patient’s head is out of the tube, greatly easing anxiety.  It even has a light and a fan helping a patient’s comfort level even more.  And the staff offer any and all the support you need including listening to music on headphones or even a hand to hold during the procedure.

No one wants to hear they need an MRI, but knowing that the Oly Ortho MRI clinic is an option, with top-notch technology and top-notch compassionate care, can make the news a bit better.  And after meeting the amazing staff, you’ll likely “remember how they made you feel.” And that feeling will be likely be pleasantly positive.

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