New imaging equipment gives Canton-Potsdam Hospital a ‘clear view’ of the future

Danielle Parent, an MRI technologist at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, speaks with Violet Tiernan, of Potsdam, following her MRI on Thursday at the hospital. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

Danielle Parent, an MRI technologist at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, speaks with Violet Tiernan, of Potsdam, following her MRI on Thursday at the hospital. Photo by Jason Hunter, Watertown Daily Times.

New medical imaging equipment at Canton-Potsdam Hospital is giving physicians a clearer view of patient care and the future of medicine.

In late January, the hospital purchased two new magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, machines — a Siemens Skyra 3-Tesla for its Canton Imaging Center, 80 E. Main St., and a Siemens Espree 1.5-Tesla for its hospital’s imaging center at 50 Leroy St.

Dr. G. Michael Maresca, chief of radiology at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, said the equipment was expensive, but the effect has been priceless.

“With the strength of an MRI, anything at about 1.5-Tesla is considered a high-power magnet,” he said. “The more magnetism you have, the higher signal you get and the better the image. It’s definitely the way to go now.”

With such state-of-the-art equipment in place, Dr. Maresca said, the hospital has been able to speed up the MRI process and build on its patient volume.

“We can do a study that used to take 20 minutes in about eight minutes,” he said. “We’re scanning between 40 and 50 patients a day, and we can do MRIs on call.”

Additionally, the new MRI machines are more spacious than older models and their magnetic tunnels, which patients slide into, are shorter. This is good news for any patient who gets uncomfortable in tight spaces, Dr. Maresca said.

“Both of these scanners are nice, in that the only time your head has to go into the magnet is if you are scanning the head,” he said. “They’re very wide.”

This quality also makes the machines more comfortable and accommodating for larger patients.

“The table weight is over 600 pounds,” Dr. Maresca said. “That’s really a high table weight, and obese patients don’t have a problem getting into this because it’s a very open space and it’s short-bored. The tunnel that you go into is very short; you’re not in there long.”

Both Siemens machines are also outfitted with “silent technology,” Dr. Maresca said, which further helps in making patients comfortable.

As president and founder of St. Lawrence Radiology Associates P.C., Dr. Maresca and his team provide radiological services to about 25 health care facilities in New York, Pennsylvania and Maine. Besides Canton-Potsdam Hospital, his business contracts with Lewis County General Hospital, Lowville; Clifton-Fine Hospital, Star Lake; Gouverneur Hospital and Massena Memorial Hospital.

He said having such high-tech imaging equipment in a rural environment like the north country is rare.

“It’s amazing that in the St. Lawrence Health System, you have three high-field MRIs,” he said. “The only other 3-Tesla MRI around is in Massena.”

Not only is this good for patients, he said, but it is also good for hospitals and their surrounding communities and economies.

“When you get great imaging, better doctors come,” he said. “It’s a nice community to be in and they’ve got the equipment to do their jobs.”

“There are a lot of professional athletes that come up here to get their imaging,” Dr. Maresca added. “These people want to have the best when it comes to imaging and technology, and so the hospital has to keep up with those demands. I really enjoy helping these hospitals get to a point that positions them for success. That’s part of what I do.”

For more information about Canton-Potsdam’s radiology department, visit www.cphospital.org/health-services/imaging.

By Eli Anderson, Watertown Daily Times