How Much Does an MRI Machine Weigh?


All MRI machines can capture pictures of internal structures and organs, which can significantly help make a precise diagnosis and lead to an appropriate treatment plan.

But how much does an MRI machine weigh? Let’s find out.

 

The weight of an MRI scanner can differ by type and model. For example, the weight of the GE Openspeed Open MRI machine is 21,000 lbs, the weight of the GE Signa Ovation MRI machine is 44,000 lbs, the Hitachi AIRIS II MRI scanner weighs 44,000 lbs, and the Hitachi Altaire MRI machine has a weight of 90,000 lbs.

Let’s discuss these MRI machines in detail, including type, use, and specifications.

 

MRI Machine Types and Specifications

GE Openspeed Open MRI 0.7T – 21,000 lbs

This MRI scanner from GE is great for people with claustrophobia. It is also suitable for individuals who are anxious or obese. This open MRI scanner is used to examine small parts of the body, such as the shoulder and knee. It has a table that can accommodate 500 lbs and offer better access.

It is 2-3 times faster than the other scanners operating today. The performance of this MRI system matches up to that of a 1.0T High-Field MRI system thanks to the combination of powerful computer processing power and high-performance surface coils. Unlike the conventional open MRI systems, this system has a shorter scan time and produces sharper images.

 GE Signa Ovation – 44,000 lbs

This MR imaging system is designed to provide superior patient comfort. The best thing about this MR scanner is that it can accommodate people who have claustrophobic problems, bigger people, and patients who cannot tolerate the close quarters of traditional MR equipment.

Hitachi AIRIS II – 34,000 lbs

The Hitachi AIRIS II has a wide table that provides a high level of comfort. The MRI table can support up to 500 pounds. This MRI machine is equipped with a permanent magnet that is low maintenance and provides excellent image quality.

Hitachi Altaire 0.7 T – 90,000 lbs

This MRI machine from Hitachi has a special open design that uses asymmetric two-post architecture for maximum openness. It has an advanced computer system with an intuitive interface, an LCD color monitor, and 1 GB of memory. It is open on all sides, allowing easy access to people. This MRI machine has a table that can support up to 500 lbs. It features Vertical-Field with Optimized Sub-System Integration (VOSI) technology that enhances image quality.

Philips Panoroma 1.0 T – 15,000 lbs

The Philips Panorama is an open MRI system that features a 360-degree panoramic viewing angle. Compared to the previous versions of Panorama, this MRI system is incredibly light at 15,000 lbs. And being lightweight, this system is easy to install.

Also, the open design enhances the comfort of patients, especially those with claustrophobic problems, and creates an excellent patient experience. Plus, it offers excellent image quality.

All in all, this open bore MRI system makes the examination comfortable for both patients and physicians.

Siemens Magnetom Concerto 0.2T – 25,000 lbs

This open MRI scanner is used to diagnose inflammatory diseases of bones and vessels. Acceptable scan times, quiet gradients, and open magnet design all deliver maximum patient comfort.

As you can see, the weight of an MRI does not depend on the strength of the magnet. A 0.7T unit can weigh 25,000 lbs or 90,000 lbs.

 

What Is the Biggest MRI Machine?

The Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMMR) is home to the biggest MRI machine in the world. The Agilent Technologies magnet weighs 110-tons and is the first 10.5 Tesla whole-body human MRI magnet in the world.

A Tesla is a measurement unit that determines the strength of magnetic fields. Back in 2018, scientists in CMMR successfully carried out the first scans with this large MRI scanner.

This whole-body imaging magnet is capable of creating scans at a greater level of detail, bringing new abilities to researchers studying how our body functions. In turn, these findings may help doctors determine the best treatment options for a variety of health conditions like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The University of Minnesota Medical School’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) is a research laboratory that offers unique, advanced instrumentation, expertise, and infrastructure for magnetic resonance-based biomedical research.

The University of Minnesota Medical School is a reputable medical institution that develops and employs some of the world’s latest magnetic resonance methods and instrumentation to help understand the functioning of organs in disease and health.

How Heavy Is an MRI Magnet?

Not all MRI machines are created equal. Much of the difference between devices is because of the magnet strength. The magnetic strength of an MRI machine is key in creating different levels of quality in the pictures.

When it comes to MRIs, magnet strength matters as it is directly associated with the quality of your scans. This can make a significant difference in a physician’s ability to diagnose conditions precisely. The higher the magnet strength, the better the quality of the image.

The magnets used in MRI machines are mostly in the 0.5-Tesla to 3.0-Tesla range, with 7.0 Tesla magnets becoming more available. A 3.0 Tesla magnet is stronger and it offers a good quality image in less time.

A 3.0 T MRI machine may weigh up to 17,000 lbs, and a 1.5 T MRI machine weighs approximately 10,000 lbs. As a matter of fact, a permanent low-field magnet may weigh three times more than a 1.5 T MRI machine.

Because of the power of these magnets, the MRI suite can hold dangers for both patients and clinicians if strict precautions are not taken. Metal objects like stethoscopes, scissors, pens, and paperclips can become life-threatening projectiles if taken into the scan room.

How Big Is a Normal MRI Machine?

The kinds of MRI machines commonly used today are conventional closed MRI and open MRI.

Conventional bores are excellent for a variety of studies. The images produced are extremely detailed and of excellent quality. This enables clinicians to make a precise diagnosis and devise a specific treatment plan for people.

In some cases, the closed-bore scanners will create superior quality images than an open-bore system due to their increased available signal and greater field strength.

The conventional bore is usually 60 cm wide, and people with claustrophobic problems may feel uncomfortable using it. In addition to this, imaging studies typically often need half an hour in the machine to obtain a complete scan, which can contribute to anxiety and discomfort.

Another downside is that the bore size may be too small for bigger people.

Wide bore MRI machines have a 70 cm bore opening. People with claustrophobic issues often find the wider bore to be less stressful than the conventional narrow bore.

What’s more, wide-bore MRI scanners have more headroom compared to open-bore scanners. The wide bore accommodates claustrophobic or larger people.

Wide bore machines can accommodate patients weighing up to 550 pounds, which is a higher weight limit than conventional MRI machines. The image quality of the wide bore MRI systems is still better than the open bore systems because of the excellent signal-to-noise ratio.

Overall, MRI machines vary in external size, and some are large enough to require their own room.  Even if a machine does not fill the room, the room it is placed in usually is kept empty because of the dangers of the strong magnet.

Why Are MRI Machines so Big?

Here is why MRI machines are so big:

Field Strength

The most crucial aspect of an MRI machine is the magnet and its magnetic field. A big magnet is needed to create a magnetic field large enough to operate an MRI.

The magnetic resonance scanner uses strong magnets, which create a strong magnetic field that forces protons in your body to align with that field.

Without the magnet, magnetic resonance imaging wouldn’t have existed. Similarly, the magnetic field used by the MRI machine wouldn’t exist without the magnet.

Constant Cooling

A magnet should be kept cool continuously to keep it stable. At present, liquid helium is used to cool the magnet. The amount needed is huge, so a massive amount of space is needed to contain it.

The magnet of an MRI machine should be maintained at a temperature of 4 Kelvin ( -270°C) to ensure precise imaging and proper operation. A cryocooler, which is a refrigeration unit, is used to cool the liquid helium.

A regular MRI machine uses 1,700 liters of liquid helium, which needs to be topped up regularly.

 

Here is a useful video on the differences between different types of MRI machines:

 

Click the following link to learn if MRI can show detail.

Dr. J

Dr. J has worked in biology all his life and holds several advanced degrees and certificates in biology, anatomy, scientific illustration, 3d animation and motion graphics. He has always had an interest in teaching others the wonders of biology using the latest advances in graphics, including visualization, digital microscopy, animation, illustration, VR and interactive media.

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