Prof. Marco Ritt, plastic surgeon and board certified hand surgeon

O-scan MRI at The Hand Clinic

An interview with Prof Marco Ritt, plastic surgeon and board certified hand surgeon. Among others: President of the Dutch Hand-surgery association, Examinator Federation of European Societies for Surgery of the Hand, Reviewer Journal of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

Q. Prof Ritt, what was the reason why a hand surgeon like you decided to buy an MRI system for your clinic in the first place?

Today, MRI diagnostic imaging is the gold standard for MSK imaging. Having an MRI on site is of great benefit both for the physician as well as for the patient at it shortens and simplifies the diagnostic process. When we need an MRI, the patient does not have to make a separate outside appointment as we are able to do the procedure directly in house. This of course is very much appreciated by the patients. For the surgeon, having “MRI on demand”, means optimizing the workflow with less return visits and improving the therapeutic process. Also, it lowers the threshold to order a MRI investigation, as it is now readily available and with relatively low cost.
Another aspect is that it we wanted to offer our patients the complete spectrum of diagnostic and therapeutic options on one location, so that they have a single point of reference for the whole therapeutic process which is very much appreciated by them, a patient centric approach.

Q. What made you decide for a dedicated MRI system?

For specialized clinics like ours, a big MRI does not make a lot of sense as the number of MRI exams is limited, so a big MRI unit would simply be too expensive. A small MRI like the O-scan is therefore the ideal solution for hand and foot surgeons as it takes up little space in the clinic and the total cost of ownership, so financing maintenance etc, makes it an interesting solution for specialized clinics.
The added advantage for the patient is that a hand MRI on the O-scan is a very comfortable and non-claustrophobic experience as the patient sits on a chair and only the hand is placed in the MRI. Even very obese patients fit in it, an important feature nowadays.

Q. What are the clinical needs for a hand surgeon like you to which an MRI system such as O-scan must responds?

Actually, where I like the MRI the most is in chronic wrist pain where we do not have a clue, based on patient history and examination, if there really is an anatomical structural problem present, and if so, where it is located. Alternatively, the problems might be caused just by overuse for instance. A MRI ends all discussion in these cases. But of course, all soft tissue abnormalities within hand and wrist can be depicted excellently and is MRI the gold standard.

Q. Prof Ritt, what is your opinion on the image quality so far?

In my view, the dedicated MRI image quality is more than adequate for everyday needs. For musculoskeletal diagnostics, the difference between dedicated MRI and high-field MRI is not significant anymore. Furthermore, low-field MRI produces fewer artefacts than high-field MRI which makes it a very good solution for postoperative evaluation. And of course, I would never have bought this MRI device if it would not provide the diagnostic answers that I need.

Q. With this experience in mind, how do you see the future of MRI for clinical specialist like hand and probably also foot surgeons?

To my opinion, small MRI systems like the O-scan are the ideal solution for dedicated clinics like ours as it simply responds to the needs of a surgeon in terms of diagnostic quality and workflow and it responds to the needs of the patient that requires a fast and high-quality therapeutic process.

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