Two New MRI Magnets Arrive Friday at University Medical Center

Two New MRI Magnets Arrive Friday at University Medical Center

Two New MRI Magnets Arrive Friday at University Medical Center

Two truck-sized MRI magnets, one of them the first 3 T magnet in Southern Arizona, arrive Friday morning at University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave.
The magnets, each weighing 22,000-24,000 lbs., will be lifted by crane onto a platform on the hospital's west side between about 9 and 10 a.m., then manually moved with rollers to their exact placement within the remodeled Radiology Department.

The process will require the closing of a section of Warren Street behind the hospital for several hours.

UMC currently has two MRIs. A .5 T magnet MRI is being replaced Friday with a more powerful 1.5 T magnet. UMC also is gaining a 3 T high field strength, research-grade magnet, unique in Southern Arizona. ("T" is an abbreviation for tesla, a unit of magnetic measurement.)

The new magnets will not be activated or magnetized until they are installed inside the hospital, said Jeff Schaefer, UMC's director of diagnostic and therapeutic services. The new 1.5 T magnet MRI will be operational around Thanksgiving, and the larger model will be operational in February, Schaefer said.

The new magnets and reconstruction to UMC's Radiology Department cost approximately $7 million, split evenly by UMC and the University of Arizona.

Physicians at UMC use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view soft tissues in the brain, spinal cord, chest, abdomen and joints of patients. It's considered an essential diagnostic tool in the modern medical arsenal.

UA researchers from the Departments of Psychology and Neurology have been using MRI to measure the functioning of precise brain locations related to reasoning, memory and emotion. Arizona Cancer Center researchers are experimenting with MRI as a method to monitor early response to chemotherapy, and UA radiologists are conducting tests to further the technology of magnetic resonance imaging.

All these researchers have been conducting their MRI studies late at night when UMC's MRIs are typically not being used on patients. The addition of a third MRI at UMC will allow research during regular daytime hours, said Arthur Gmitro, Ph.D., professor of radiology at the UA College of Medicine.

Media: the best location to photograph cranes lifting the magnets into the hospital will be on the ambulance bay near the trauma center on Warren. To avoid delays, please call ahead to see if the magnets have arrived on schedule.