A HOSPITAL in Taunton has launched a £1million appeal to buy a MRI scanner.

Musgrove Park Hospital started the appeal this summer in order to buy a third scanner for the hospital.

But what does an MRI scanner do, and why does Musgrove need a third one?

Dr Jo Brown, consultant in radiology at Musgrove, took part in a Q&A to let County Gazette readers know where their money would be going.

What is MRI and how does it work?

Dr Brown said: "MRI is a way of imaging the body, using magnetic fields and radio waves, rather than ionising radiation, so you can be scanned without having a dose of radiation. It is one of the newest methods of imaging available. The best thing about it is we can see all of the details inside the human body that we cannot see with a CT and other scans. It’s very popular in spinal cases, because we need to see all of the deep and small structures, all of the nerves and nerve roots coming up from the spine. Also in cases for orthopaedics, and where surgery is required for joints, the structure of the ligaments and tendons can only be seen by MRI and not by other imaging techniques."

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Which parts of Musgrove use MRI?

"MRI is currently used by all of the hospital’s specialities, from paediatrics to orthopaedics. In particular, we are increasingly using MRI in paediatrics. Where possible we prefer to use MRI when scanning a child’s head as it provides a more detailed image of the brain and other structures. Also, it means the patient is not dosed with unnecessary radiation, which is especially important for those who need repeat examinations."

Why is there such a high demand for MRI?

"The single biggest area where the use of MRI is increasing is in cancer staging. We are getting better at catching cancer early, which in some cases requires serial imaging where scans take place every few weeks to see how treatment is working. "

Why should people in Somerset get behind the appeal for a new MRI scanner?

"A new MRI scanner is very important for Musgrove. Our existing two scanners are working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and we still need to rent mobile MRI vans from private providers.

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"While the quality of the scans provided by the mobile scanners is adequate, a new MRI scanner would provide the latest technology, allowing us to scan and diagnose complex investigations.

"The work we do here is exactly the same as that undertaken at specialist hospitals in Bristol and London, so a new scanner would mean we could continue to provide patients with the same complex diagnoses with a shorter wait and without having to travel to other cities."

To get involved in the appeal either fill in the form on this page or visit www.justgiving.com/LoveMusgrove

Print the below form out to donate:

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