Centers of Excellence

Cinema Vision: MRI Video & Audio System


Phoenix Children’s Hospital Division Chief of Imaging, Richard Towbin, MD, received funding from the Leadership Circle to purchase Cinemavision, a video and audio system used during MRIs to reduce stress and anxiety commonly experienced in the enclosed imaging environment. The system includes a pair of goggles and headgear that are worn by the patient during imagining.

How it works


Video images and audio feeds are transmitted through an imaging safe cable. The entire system of headgear, goggles, and cables, is free from metal parts that could be drawn into the MRI magnet or cause interference with imaging resolution. The headgear is also equipped with a microphone to better facilitate communication between the staff and patient during the procedure.

Patients are transported from the imaging room into their own virtual world while undergoing the procedure. The cinema goggles act as a personal movie theater displaying the patients favorite DVD.  The noise from the MRI machine is muted by the headset that can play their favorite CD, audio recording or iPod playlist.

Patient Impact

The technology is anticipated to reduce the amount of general anesthesia cases seen in 8- to 12-year-old patient population. Other patient populations will likely benefit from the uses of the system as well, such as those suffering from claustrophobia and anxiety and patients with developmental delays and other behavioral issues. 

“At just a little over two months since installing, we’re already realizing our vision for the utilization of this system,” said Lisa Walker, Manager, Diagnostic Imaging. “And that vision was to reduce the amount of anesthesia cases for claustrophobic, developmentally delayed and fidgety teenagers.  It has done just that.”

The system was installed and available for use on February 13.

“We saw immediate, positive results with the system,” Walker said. “On the very first day of the technology’s operation, we performed a scan on a 10 year old who had been scheduled to undergo anesthesia.  Due to the goggles, she was able to successfully complete the study.”

The system has been used on approximately 150 children and the department has already observed a decrease in the number of patients who would have required general anesthesia to complete their MRI scan. 

Currently the Cinemavision system is only available at Phoenix Children’s main campus.

“Patients, especially our repeat customer, are singing the praises of the Cinemavision system. If we were able to purchase a second system to use in out East Valley satellite location the impact would be even greater,” said Walker.


Cinemavision will be offered to all patients over the age of 8 seen at the Phoenix Children’s main campus for imaging. Referring physicians may request Cinemavision to be used on younger patients.

How to Refer:

Referrals can be faxed to 602-933-1214

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