CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe and players officially opened a new MRI scanner suite at the Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital.

Eddie and AFC Bournemouth players Josh McQuoid and Shaun MacDonald cut the ribbon for the state-of-the-art machine.

The £1 million short bore open scanner will be used to diagnose and investigate conditions ranging from strokes, heart conditions, arthritis and prostate cancer to sports injuries.

Speaking at the launch, Eddie said: “I’m delighted to be here to launch this scanner which will benefit the whole community.

“We do use the facilities here and, while I hope we won’t have to use it, it will be great to have the scanner available.

“We have always had a very good relationship with Nuffield Hospital which hopefully will only continue to grow, and it is really important to the club to be involved in the community in this way.”

With both ends open, a wider bed and a shorter, thicker magnet the scanner is more suitable for people who experienced claustrophobia with earlier designs.

It is also faster and the weight limit has increased compared with the hospital’s previous MRI facilities, which were housed in an on-site mobile unit.

Hospital director David McNair said: “This will allow us to do MR scans every day, whereas previously we only did four days a week.

“It is the very latest technology and was requested by the surgeons.

“We are very pleased with it and it is part of measures to improve our diagnostic facilities.

“AFC Bournemouth has been very supportive of Nuffield Hospital developments and their interest in the new scanner helps to raise awareness of this hugely impressive machine.”

The hospital improvements include a new mammography suite, opened last year by Denise Van Outen, and ongoing plans to refurbish theatres and bedrooms across the hospital.

The scanner was acquired through a joint partnership between Nuffield Health and Alliance Medical.

How magnetic resonance imaging works

MAGNETIC resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful superconducting magnet to generate a strong magnetic field.

The Siemens scanner also generates a radio frequency pulse which excites hydrogen atoms in the patient’s body, causing them to emit a detectable signal which differs in strength for different tissue types, depending on their water content.

It builds a 3D image of the patient’s body, which can be sectioned and examined in detail.

The magnet itself can’t be switched off, meaning metal objects – including body implants like plates and pacemakers – are not allowed in the imaging room.

It is kept at a temperature close to absolute zero, the coldest temperature possible, by using liquid helium isolated by a vacuum.