The challenges of installing a new MRI system
Many people think that installing a new MRI machine at an imaging center is simply a matter of placing it in a room and plugging it in. If only it were that simple!
Installing an MRI is an extremely complex operation. It takes the combined effort of many people in construction, engineering and information technology. At our new Sunnyside location, our challenge was to install TWO of them!
First, there was extensive site preparation. A physicist needed to first verify the site and specify the precise placement of the machines. Next, the rooms were outfitted with special magnetic shielding in the walls surrounding the MRI systems. The floors beneath the machine were reinforced, and there was extensive planning throughout the imaging suites for accessibility and workflow.
The delivery of these machines was no small task. Entire city blocks in New York were closed while dozens of workers delivered the machines and moved them slowly and carefully into the building. A large hole was cut in the floor, and then a special hoist was used to lower the 30,000 – 50,000 pound machines to the basement floor.
Two specially trained technicians remained on-site for each install, making constant adjustments to compensate for disturbances in the surrounding environment…such as power lines, traffic patterns, sewer lines, power transformers, moving metal objects like elevators and more. In a city like New York, you can bet that there are A LOT of disturbances to contend with. What’s more, each of the two MRI systems in the same building can affect the other, which is why a physicist involved in site planning was so important.
Once in place, installation and information technology personnel must integrate the machine with operator workstations and PACS systems, load software and conduct tests of the machine. Finally, the machines are tested extensively before the first patient can be imaged.
MRI machines like our newly installed 1.5T and 3T systems at our Sunnyside location are a critical component of modern healthcare. They allow doctors to see inside the human body with greater clarity and precision than ever before, which can lead to a more accurate diagnosis for patients and successful treatment of a host of diseases and health conditions.