Southampton Doctors Use Inflatable MRI scanner

Clinicians at Southampton’s university hospitals are helping young patients overcome their fears about MRI scans by laying them in an inflatable replica.


The innovation, introduced by the cross sectional imaging team at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, is designed to help familiarise children with the size and shape of the equipment.

It is hoped the custom-made device, which was funded with support from Southampton Hospital Charity, will help to reduce the number of young patients who require general anaesthetic for an MRI scan, with the associated risks and longer waits.

The inflatable will be on display in the main entrance at Southampton General Hospital tomorrow (Tuesday) as part of World Radiography Day, which marks the anniversary of the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895.

Members of the radiography team will be on hand throughout the day to talk to patients, visitors and staff about all aspects of the specialty, from diagnostic imaging to the delivery of radiotherapy treatment.

Other activities planned include image displays, bone-naming and radiotherapy equipment demonstrations.

Helen Haigh, acting lead superintendent radiographer for cross sectional imaging at UHS, said: “We are all really looking forward to the event we have planned for World Radiography Day as it is a great opportunity to let everyone know more about our work and the role it plays within hospital services.

“The inflatable MRI scanner will obviously be a popular attraction as it is a fun and innovative addition to our educational materials, but it will also give us the chance to highlight the important part it can play in reducing patients’ fears and, in turn, the use of anaesthetics and waiting times.”

She added: “We hope as many people as possible – patients, visitors, staff and anyone interested in joining our department – come along to see us, ask us questions and gain a behind the scenes insight into our department.”

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