Lyster Army Health Clinic is upgrading its MRI machine to high definition.

The current machine, which takes two-dimensional pictures, leaves doctors with only one vantage point to look at when viewing an image (just like a photograph). The new system, which shoots images at a higher resolution, allows doctors to change their vantage point to better view the limb or organ in question. This ability to manipulate an image will increase the radiologist's ability to see pathology and correctly diagnose a problem.

The upgraded system, anticipated to arrive in mid October, cost about $64,000 and extends the life of the current MRI hardware. LAHC chose to upgrade the software rather than replace the machine because it would cost more than $2 million for the new hardware, and associated construction costs needed to accommodate a new system.

The new system will also decrease the amount of time it takes to scan and create an image. This advantage will shorten appointment times allowing the department to fit more appointments in on a given day and shortening wait times for patient on the day of their appointment.

"Not only does the software give our doctors a better look at images, it also keeps us from inconveniencing our patients by asking them to come back to reshoot an image," said Capt. Melissa Riester, chief of radiology for LAHC.

The high resolution images and multiple vantage points will also allow the radiology department to do advanced studies in the future.

LAHC is the first military health care facility in the region to have this type of technology, which will allow the clinic to support its patients with the convenience of keeping studies in-house rather than having them go through the extra steps, time and travel associated with a referral.