The first fixed-site magnetic resonance imaging machine in the county will open in September at the Bel Air medical offices of Copeland, Hyman & Shackman P.A., on Plumtree Road.
The key part for the MRI service -- a 17-ton magnetic resonance imaging magnet -- was delivered and installed Thursday.
Theresa O'Donnell, supervisor of MRI testing for the physicians group, said the new center will give the doctors' Harford patients closer access to MRI technology. Currently, Harford patients must drive to the group's Rosedale or Pikesville offices.
Upper Chesapeake Health Systems, which operates Fallston General Hospital and Harford Memorial Hospital, also offers MRI technology services. The service is offered in an MRI unit that travels betweeen the two hospitals.
Copeland, Hyman and Shackman are radiologist, specializing in diagnosing diseases using advanced radiographical technology. They have been in practice since 1961.
In addition to magnetic resonance imaaging,the group's facility will offer computer tomography, nuclear medicine, low-dose mamography, ultrasound and general radiology.
The images produced by MRI can be used to study heart and blood vessel diseases, blow flow irregularities, brain lesions and chest and spine disorders. The precise extent of tumors and other abnormalities can be identified in almost all parts of the body and can reveal sharp details of the internal structures of the eye and ear.
The test itself takes about 30 minutes. Patients feel nothing but must remain perfectly still during the testing. The procedure is usually completed on an outpatient basis and requires no special follow-up care.