MRIs: A Brief History
Although Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI and its history reaching back some
ninety years or so, the applications for this medical field are still for the most part relatively new,
especially when considering the technological advances that have allowed it to evolve in leaps
and bounds.
Developed in the 1930s, it was not until around the 70s that the implications of varying
MRI technologies gained some real traction in playing a crucial role in medical practices.
In its long history, names of greatest relevance are those of the British scientists Peter
Mansfield and Paul Lauterbur. They were both awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine back in
the year 2003 for their combined efforts pertaining to the relevancy of MRIs.
Additionally, another name worth mentioning is that of the American doctor, MRI
pioneer, and scientist in Raymond Damadian. It was his tremendous understanding of these
medical apparatuses which paved the way for MRIs to be able to detect medical conditions to
make diagnoses for ailments such as cancer.
To this day, the first ever full-body MRI scanner introduced back in 1977 is housed in the
Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
What is a Mobile MRI?
To clear up any general sense of confusion or ambiguities, Mobile MRI units have
nothing to do with smartphone devices or managing them through similar technological
In short, the terminology is utilized to describe the way in which these MRI units are
portable, much like a mobile home, a trailer, or other vehicles of this composition that are on the
go. Matter of factually, it would probably be best to conceptualize it as a trailer that houses an
MRI machine, because, in essence, that is exactly what it is.
In more technical terms, the Mobile MRI name is derived from the fact that it is a closed
and independent trailer of approximately 48 feet that ho
As with every major financial decision, there are a vast array of factors to bear in mind
when considering whether or not a Mobile MRI unit is necessary for any given hospital.
Generally speaking, in this particular instance, there are usually three reasons that most hospitals
begin contemplating as to whether or not they should own or rent a Mobile MRI unit.
` Arguably the most noticeable scenario in which a hospital would choose switching from
a fixed MRI to a mobile unit or adding-on a mobile MRI unit is largely due to a matter of a
limitation in the amount of available space. If there is not enough floor space or room to house
the large MRI machine, the notion of a mobile model rapidly becomes a viable solution in
circumventing this dilemma.
There are two huge advantages that cause healthcare providers to gravitate towards the
Mobile MRI unit option.
Firstly, the housing shields the mobile scanners, which in turn safeguards both the quality
of the machine’s imaging as well as the area surrounding it.
Secondly, there are fewer restrictions in terms of site requirements which makes this a
more popularized selection amongst healthcare providers.
A significant advantage of modular MRI machines housed in trailers is that the healthcare
institutes that need them can further reduce their overall costs by simply renting out these
specific units, as opposed to outright purchasing the costly machines.
What is the Cost of a Mobile MRI Unit?
Like any other business expenditure, there are a lot of variables to keep into consideration
when deciding which products are going to give you the most return on your investment.
It is of utmost importance to keep ROI in mind when determining whether or not a
facility is better suited with a fixed MRI scanner, or one of the mobile units available in the
At a glance, the total cost of what one might pay upfront and out the door for a Mobile
MRI unit can be disheartening, especially seeing as to how they are considerably more expensive
than one would expect to pay for the typical MRI.
On average, a large hospital can anticipate spending anywhere between $250,000 to
$2,500,000 plus for a fixed MRI system depending on whether or not it is refurbished or new.
In retrospect, the typical Mobile MRI unit will most likely range anywhere from
$400,000 to $2,800,000 based on similar parameters.
To the untrained eye, the additional price, which is largely due to the cost of the trailer in
combination with the built-out system, may seem like an unnecessary risk. However, the
mobility of these units generates more revenue than a fixed MRI scanner through their capacity
to cover a wider range of services at different locations.
The Dawn of a New Age in Medical Imaging
To date, there are a handful of medical imaging or radiology techniques utilized by
healthcare professionals to assist in the process of diagnosing various diseases and ailments.
Namely, they are that of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT scan),
as well as that of ultrasounds, positron emission tomography (PET scan), and X-rays.
According to Digital Authority, there are two titans within their respective industries that
are making some serious headway in terms of applying Artificial Intelligence user interfaces in
the applications of MRI scanning. Namely, the Chicago based company in Icometrix, and Artery
which is located in San Francisco, California.
In the progression of these medical trends, CT scans were the first of medical imaging
devices to be available in a mobile format. From the aftermath of their success birthed the
sudden spike that we can observe in the implementation of Mobile MRI technologies.
While it is seemingly impossible to try and predict or forecast the trajectory of a given
service or product, it will be interesting to keep track of what the future of MRI scanning has in
store for us.
Overall, mobility seems like an essential variable in this equation. There is definitely a
need for Mobile MRI units, not only for hospitals in an effort to save space but also to be
economical by being able to serve at more locations and come up with more plans to share units
with other hospitals.