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New MRI scanner arrives at Mayo

HEAVY LOAD — A crane lifts an 8,600-pound MRI scanner from a flatbed trailer Monday morning at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont.

FAIRMONT — A new MRI scanner landed at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont on Monday.

The 8,600-pound magnetic resonance imaging machine was delivered to the Mayo campus by semi, but a crane was needed to lift the scanner off the truck and transport it to its new home via a hatch in the hospital’s roof.

The imaging area at Fairmont Mayo originally had an exterior wall, but the new Emergency Department and other expansions and renovations in recent years altered that floor plan.

“We had built around our space,” said Crystal Chapman, imaging services supervisor at Fairmont Mayo, explaining why the airborne delivery method was necessary.

Chapman estimated that Mayo invested about $2 million in the project, including the scanner, the hatch and a complete remodel of the entire imaging room including its copper shielding.

“It was a pretty big project,” Chapman said. “We want the community to know about this special equipment we put in to improve their health care.”

Fairmont Mayo has been utilizing a mobile MRI truck since construction began on the project in June. The new scanner, a GE SIGNA Artist 1.5 Tesla model, still needs to be magnetized and readied for use but is expected to be fully operational by Oct. 22.

Resembling a giant front-loading washing machine, the new MRI boasts a large bore tunnel measuring about 27.5 inches across, providing extra room and comfort for patients. Previous scanners over the years ranged from about 19.5 to 23.5 inches wide.

Chapman estimates the new MRI will be used nearly 2,000 times per year.

The old MRI scanner that was removed in June was reinstalled at an orthopedic clinic in Los Angeles in July.

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