With MR scanners costing six and sometimes seven figures, they’re a huge investment for a healthcare facility. In addition to the scanner itself, there are other associated expenses—including the cost of shielding for magnetic field containment and radio frequency (RF) interference.NewVsRefurb_Blog_Image_Master

Determining the total costs—both long- and short-term—to modify your existing MR shield is not a simple exercise. There are important factors to remember when putting together your budget. Following are 6 questions you need to answer:

1. Will your current shield will work with the new equipment? 

  • Just because there aren’t visible RF artifacts with your existing shield does not guarantee it will meet new magnet requirements. A new MR vendor will require an RF certification test of current shield performance to make sure it meets new magnet requirements.

2.  Will your current shield meet the new system’s RF specifications?

  • An MR vendor will not guarantee new magnet image performance unless the shield meets the new system’s RF specifications. Minimal modifications may include:
    • New and/or relocation of MR vendor penetration panels
    • New or additional magnetic shielding

Modification costs will depend on shield vendor design adaptability.

3. How will modifications affect future usage costs?

  • Verify the balance of the existing shield warranty and determine if the limited warranty (for necessary modifications) will affect future usage costs.

4. Will the physical dimensions of your MRI suite work with the new equipment?

  • If the new equipment will fit in the existing space, conduct a baseline RF shielding effectiveness test to determine if the existing enclosure meets the RF shielding requirements of the new system or magnet.
    • If the existing shield meets the required shielding specifications and size requirements, then retrofitting the existing MRI suite is a manageable undertaking. This typically costs about a third less than a new shield.

5. Will the new MRI require magnetic shielding?

  • If the new MRI will require magnetic shielding, some of the existing RF shielding may have to be demolished to make way for the magnetic shielding.
    • Marrying an old shield with new RF shielding can be difficult, but if shielding specifications and size requirements are both met, then retrofitting for the new MRI can be done—at about one-third the cost of a new shield.

6. Can I repair instead of replace my MRI shield?

  • If your shield is more than 20 years old, replacing it is likely the best solution.
  • Your shield is less than 20 years old, look into repairing it instead.
    • The most common issue with shield leakage is the doors, which may just be a matter of wear and tear.
    • Other issues may be from wood shrinkage, loose bolts, or corrosion or moisture build-up due to water leaks from overflowing sinks or flooding from weather.

Repairing these issues may prove to be far less expensive than a complete shield overhaul.

Determining the total cost of replacing or refurbishing your RF shield should be on a case-by-case basis. Your MRI shielding vendor can help you determine what path is right for your facility.

As a division of the largest dedicated Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Shielding company in the world, IMEDCO America has an established reputation for delivering innovative shielding packages optimized for each individual environment.

Talk to us today about your MRI suite upgrade. We’ll help you make the best decision for today and tomorrow. Contact us or call today at 317-773-8500.