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New MRI

Kim Kucskar, MRI technologist, demonstrates how to use the new 3T MRI at Saratoga Hospital's Wilton campus recently.

WILTON — Men who have prostate cancer just got a new option for diagnosis.

Saratoga Hospital has added a 3T MRI, specifically for men’s health, to its Wilton campus.

The 3T is the latest generation of MRI machines. It can see at a much-higher resolution than older machines, allowing radiologists to see even tiny tumors in the prostate, spine and brain.

It will be particularly useful for prostate cancer diagnoses.

Older MRIs could be used for prostate cancer scans, but only with invasive probes.

Instead of a scan, most men who have a suspiciously high PSA score undergo a needle biopsy, in which a doctor takes about 12 needle samples from the prostate area. It’s not a popular exam.

“With the more powerful 3T MRI, we can diagnose certain conditions more accurately,” said Mildred Aviles, Saratoga Hospital director of medical imaging. “Patients affected by those conditions need and deserve easy access to this superior image quality.”

To be clear, men may still end up needing a biopsy if the scan shows a possible tumor, but the scan itself can be done non-invasively.

“The 3T MRI places us on the forefront of care in prostate imaging and other areas that are important to our community,” Aviles said.

The 3T is not in many places — this machine is the only one in Northern New York. There are four in the New York City area.

The location also makes the exam possible for patients who can’t afford to pay out of pocket. The 3T MRIs in the New York City area are usually out-of-network to North Country patients, who must also resolve issues with scheduling and transportation.

Now they can just drive to Wilton. The campus is off Northway Exit 15, at 3040-3050 Route 50.

MRIs are becoming more common in the area. There are at least six in Glens Falls, including two at Glens Falls Hospital.

They are good for the bottom line, bringing in an influx of funds that helps Glens Falls Hospital balance its budget, its CEO has said. And physicians are scheduling scans more often as the first step in a diagnosis, spokeswoman Katelyn Cinzio said earlier this year.

Usage of the MRIs at Glens Falls Hospital has increased steadily in the past two years, growing from 100 a month last year to 600 a month this spring.

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You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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