MRI goggles help put patients at ease

Monday, January 27, 2014 | 8:10 p.m. CST; updated 6:26 a.m. CST, Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The hospital purchased the device to help MRI patients relax during the procedure. The goggles are made by Cinemavision. Patients can watch movies, listen to music and talk to MRI technicians.

COLUMBIA — These days, the inside of the MRI machine at Women's and Children's Hospital might look a lot like the Death Star — or Gotham City, or Hogwarts. It really depends on which movie the patient chooses.

Last month, the hospital bought a pair of MRI goggles to make the machine's confines less stressful for patients, said Colin Planalp, a media relations coordinator with MU Health Care.

The goggles let the patient watch movies, listen to music or talk with the MRI technician, according to the manufacturer's website.

Before the hospital bought the goggles, people who felt uncomfortable in tight spaces might have had to be sedated or anesthetized for the scans, which can sometimes last longer than an hour.

Some doctors who have used the goggles said they make a noticeable difference.

"We've been happy with it, definitely," said Jesse Courtier, a pediatric radiologist with the University of California - San Francisco's Benioff Children's Hospital. He has used the goggles for about two years.

Courtier pointed out another upside to the goggles: cheaper medical procedures.  Anesthesia can cost up to $2,000 per dose, he said. These devices might eliminate the need for such drugs during an MRI.

The goggles cost the hospital about $50,000, Planalp said. It was purchased with a donation from several central Missouri credit unions.

Supervising editor is Adam Aton.

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