Our new MR Simulator machine located in Austin Health's ONJ Centre is the first to be used within a radiation therapy centre in Victoria. This means that patients will only need one planning session, and they won’t have to travel elsewhere for an MRI.
The MR Simulator provides patients with an immersive Ambient Experience, helping to create a relaxing and calming environment while patients undergo cancer imaging.
An MRI machine like this uses a strong magnet and radiowaves to take a clear image of soft tissues in the body.
Radiation Therapist, Drew Smith, explains that MRI machines are quite noisy and patients need to wear specialised masks or body moulds to help keep them stable while inside the machine.
This can be uncomfortable, but the Ambient Experience helps make it a more relaxing and pleasant experience.
“Patients can choose music and a colour scheme to be projected in the room while they’re having their scan.
“Or they could choose to have footage projected into the room, like a tropical beach view in South America, a panorama of Jordan or landscapes in Europe,” says Drew.
Our first patient, Luke, chose the immersive experience of being in the vineyards.
“It makes it feel less clinical.
“The environment looks nice and modern, and it makes you feel like you’re being looked after,” he said.
Luke says that while the machine was impressive, the people providing care make such a big difference.
“Everyone has been so good,” he said.
Our new MR Simulator will assist with planning radiation therapy for patients. It will also complement our new state-of-the art radiation therapy machine which is in the final stages of installation, sending MRI images directly to the MR-Linac which can be used during treatment.
The first of its kind in Victoria, our MR-Linac will use superior image quality of MRI to target tumours in real time and with greater precision to minimise damage to surrounding tissue.
The MR-Linac is expected to launch soon and the ONJ Centre will be the Victorian statewide provider for this type of advanced radiation therapy.
The installation of the Ambient Experience was only made possible through the support of a generous donor.