With convenient appointment times and affordable prices, Mayfair Diagnostics provides fast access to computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services. We have been offering community MRI services in Calgary since 1999, and CT services since 2002.
Our experienced team uses state-of-the-art technology and expertise in a variety of areas (neuroradiology, breast, body, cardiac/chest, musculoskeletal, etc.) to ensure a fast, accurate, sub-specialized diagnostic report.
CT and MRI scans are ordered when more detail is needed based on results of other studies, when the cause of symptoms is unclear during a physical exam or when an asymptomatic patient has increased risk of certain disease. A patient’s medical and family history, risk factors, and type and duration of symptoms, all affect a referring physician’s decision on which type of imaging is appropriate.
“Although both CT and MRI are excellent tools for diagnostic imaging, each has its own strengths. This may influence which modality is best for a specific diagnosis,” says Rick Myszkowski, lead MRI technologist and Mayfair Place Clinic Manager.
An MRI scan creates images by exposing hydrogen atoms within our body to a magnetic field which controls the direction and frequency at which hydrogen protons spin. A radio frequency pulse is then directed at a specific area of the body, while smaller magnets are used to alter the magnetic field on a small, but localized level. As tissues responds differently to these magnetic field alterations, a computer can convert the data into a picture. MRI images are useful for assessing most body areas and are especially good at evaluating joints and soft tissues. Importantly, these images are obtained without a radiation dose to the patient.
Mayfair offers both 1.5T and 3T MRI services at Mayfair Place, providing greater options to specifically meet the imaging needs of patients. The highly sensitive images from our higher-strength 3T machine allows enhanced imaging of musculoskeletal joint and soft tissue disease and can be very valuable in abdominal and pelvic imaging, including for prostate-related disease.
A CT scan is made from X-rays. While a standard X-ray machine sends only one radiation beam, a CT scanner emits a series of beams as it moves in an arc around the body. CT can demonstrate different levels of tissue density. This data is transmitted to a computer, which builds a 3D cross-sectional picture of the area of the body being scanned. CT scans can be performed on any part of the body. Low-dose studies are used to screen for certain diseases, such as lung cancer, colon cancer, and heart disease.
Whether a doctor requests a CT or an MRI scan often depends on the presumed diagnosis. For example, MRI is very good at examining soft tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, evaluating the spinal cord, and identifying strokes in the brain. CT scans, in comparison, are best for imaging bone, organs in the chest or abdomen, and blood vessels. For example, a CT is preferred to assess fractures, screen for cancers, and evaluate for narrowing of the arteries.
Whether it’s identifying a targeted area for treatment with surgery or an injection, finding an illness early, or excluding serious pathology, a clear diagnosis can provide peace of mind for patients.
An important difference between CT and MRI is that a CT scan involves radiation. This exposure to radiation in a CT scan is higher than that of standard X-rays, although the associated risk is still small. For example, the radiation exposure from one low-dose CT scan of the chest is a similar level of radiation as every person receives from the earth’s natural background radiation over six months.
At Mayfair, we strive to ensure the lowest possible dose for your CT study without compromising quality, and usually the benefit of detecting serious illness early outweighs the increased risk from radiation exposure.
MRI images, on the other hand, use a magnetic field, which can attract metal objects or may cause metal in your body to move. This means that before an MRI can be performed all patients will need to be screened to exclude internal metal objects that are not safe in the MRI. Compared to CT, the inside of the MRI scanner is slightly smaller and there are noises caused by changes in the magnetic field, which require ear protection.
CT and MRI exams are both available in hospitals and covered under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, but we also offer the same studies as private pay exams.
In Saskatchewan, we provide MRIs as a publicly funded, community-based service under contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and as a private pay exam. Private MRI services in Saskatchewan are provided in accordance with and under the legislation of the Province of Saskatchewan. They are offered at our Regina and Saskatoon clinics.
Whether public or private, medical imaging must be requested by a health care practitioner who will provide a requisition. Mayfair Diagnostics will schedule your exam and provide you with detailed information to prepare for it. Once your exam is completed, your images will be reviewed by a specialized radiologist who will compile a report that is sent to your doctor.
Mayfair Diagnostics is owned and operated by over 50 radiologists who are sub-specialty trained, which guarantees an expert opinion of your imaging. For more information, please visit our services page.