MRI services now offered at Mayo Clinic in Prairie du Chien

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This is the MRI exam table and machine that is inside the mobile MRI unit that will be coming to the Mayo Clinic in Prairie du Chien every Wednesday. (Photo by Ted Pennekamp)

By Ted Pennekamp


MRI services are now offered at Mayo Clinic Health System in Prairie du Chien. The mobile MRI unit will be available for patients every Wednesday.

“There are patients in the area who will benefit from this service being offered here. It improves the patient experience,” said Ted Hanson, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiology for Mayo Clinic Health System in Southwest Wisconsin. “This imaging service will help our providers diagnose and evaluate injuries, diseases and other medical issues to help our patients.”

“It’s nice for our patients not to have to drive all the way to La Crosse, especially when often they have to be in La Crosse quite early in the morning,” said Dr. David DeHart of the Prairie du Chien Mayo Clinic. DeHart noted that the Prairie du Chien Clinic has specialists who can review the MRI results, and who also can upload the MRI results into their computer systems and electronically send them to a patient’s specialist where ever that specialist may be.

“I feel pretty happy we now have this service,” said De Hart. “We can do mobile mammograms as well. Patients are more inclined to get an MRI or a test when it is available right here and they don’t have to go anywhere. It improves the patient experience when they have more options for care close to home.”

De Hart noted that a big slab of concrete was poured next to the Prairie du Chien Clinic in order to support the weight of the mobile MRI unit. He said the mobile unit will stay at the Prairie du Chien Clinic every Wednesday for as long as it takes to give MRIs to all of the patients scheduled that day.

The mobile unit consists of a 1.5-tesla MRI unit. The scanner is faster than lower-strength MRIs and is ideal for health care professionals to view the abdomen and chest. The magnet can be used to run shorter scan times, reduce possible motion distortion and create higher-quality images.

“The images produced by an MRI enable the radiologist to examine both healthy and unhealthy tissue to develop an understanding of disease processes and injuries at a very high level of detail. We are happy to be able to offer quality Mayo Clinic care in our area,” adds DeHart, the physician leader at Mayo Clinic Health System in Prairie du Chien.

MRIs are routinely used to assess:

The brain and skull for signs of stroke, aneurysm, tumors and neurodegenerative diseases.

The heart and circulatory system to evaluate the structure and function of the heart or aorta to assess the extent of damage following a heart attack or because of heart disease, or to look for inflammation and blockages in blood vessels.

Internal organs, including the liver, kidneys, uterus, pancreas, spleen, ovaries and prostate.

The breasts in women with dense breast tissue, or when screening or diagnostic mammography reveals abnormalities that require additional imaging.

The bones and joints to evaluate conditions like arthritis, disc disease, bone infections or tumors, or other injuries or abnormalities that affect the function of joints.

MRIs also may be used to evaluate the effects of ongoing medical treatments for chronic conditions, or before or after surgery.

During the MRI procedure, Dr. Hanson said patients will lie on an exam table that passes through the MRI machine.

“As the magnetic field moves around you, the MRI machine will make tapping or thumping noises that can be loud at times,” Hanson explained. “Depending on the extent of the exam, your MRI may last up to an hour and sometimes a little longer. Once the MRI is complete, patients can resume normal activities.”

MRI services also are offered at Mayo Clinic Health System locations in La Crosse, Onalaska and Tomah.

About Mayo Clinic Health System

Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals, and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality physical and virtual health care close to home.

Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse was the only health care facility in Southwest Wisconsin in 2021 that received the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s 5-Star Quality Rating and Leapfrog Grade A for Safety. It was named in Healthgrades America’s “250 Best Hospitals” and Newsweek’s “Best Hospitals in the U.S.”

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