A massive $1.97-million magnet, weighing more than 5,400 kilograms was delivered to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for the facility’s new MRI suite Tuesday. (Island Health photo)

NRGH gets 5-tonne MRI magnet

$1.97M magnet will boost hospital medical imaging suite capabilities

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is looking forward to improvements in its medical imaging capabilities, thanks to the arrival of the main component of the hospital’s new magnetic resonance imaging suite.

A massive doughnut-shaped MRI magnet, valued at $1.97 million and tilting the scales at 5,440 kilograms, was unloaded with a crane and installed Tuesday, Jan. 21., in the hospital’s new 102-square-metre addition near the emergency department.

According to an Island Health press release, the magnet is a critical piece of the B.C. surgical and diagnostic imaging strategy launched in 2018 and is the second new MRI installed at NRGH within the last year.

The new MRI includes advancements that will improve scanning efficiency and error-correction technology that will lead to reduced repeat exams and improve the experience for patients undergoing MRI exams.

RELATED: Second MRI machine coming to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

“We’re getting our second MRI installed and that’s going to lead to an improved ability for us to provide MRI services to central Vancouver Island … it really is state-of-the-art,” said Dr. Brent Carson, radiologist and MRI clinical head for NRGH, in an interview released by Island Health. “This magnet is actually going to change how we do MRI. The two big benefits from the system in general is that it’s going to be very fast, so it will potentially allow us to scan more patients in a shorter periods of time, and it will also allow us to scan with higher resolution, so give us better detail… For us, detail is everything and the more detail that we have, the more information that we can give clinicians, surgeons and so it will allow us to be more accurate.”

The new MRI will be operational by April.

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