Not even the heavy rain on the morning of September 23 could dampen the joy everyone felt as they watched the magnet for the MRI Suite arrive on the hospital campus and the construction crew lower it through the temporary opening and into place inside the MRI building.

The MRI Suite was made possible in part, thanks to generous donors of the Foundation's Emergency Response campaign to build a new Emergency Department at Langley Memorial.

The MRI Suite is a game-changer for Langley’s medical care. The suite will allow patients to get the diagnostic support they need close to home and will alleviate the high demands placed on neighbouring communities’ MRIs.

Fun Facts on the MRI: 

1. How much does the magnet weight?

The magnet weighs an incredible 9,867lbs.

2. What is the magnet's height?

It is 2.229 m tall.

3. How wide is the magnet?

It is 2.231 m wide.

4. How does a MRI work?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses the body's natural magnetic properties to produce detailed images from any part of the body. It is often used for disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring.

5. How strong is the MRI magnet?

The magnet field produced by Earth is 0.5 gauss. The magnet field produced by our 1.5T MRI machine is 15,000 gauss, meaning the magnet is 30,000 times stronger than that produced by the Earth. 

Q&A with Tammy Karoway, LMH Medical Imaging Site Coordinator

I hear that the MRI Suite will be open 7 days a week – is that correct? 

Yes, we are hoping to ramp up very quickly with patients. When the Suite opens, we will be operating 7 days a week for 16 hours a day (bookings from 7am to 11pm). 

What key patient scans will our new MRI support? 

We will be able to image a wide variety of patients. This will include studies of the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis. MRI is used for soft tissue injuries in joints – like tears, ruptures and strains. 

MRI is the gold standard for MS diagnosis as the plaques in the brain and spine are best characterized with this modality.

We will also be doing prostate and breast specialty exams as well as some vascular studies. 

Is there anything we will not be able to perform?

Our team will not support cardiac MRI at this time as it require medical specialists we don't currently have working on site in Langley. 

MRI scans take specialized medical staff and equipment. Why is that?  

Safety is a key consideration with MRI as the magnet is always "on" meaning there is always a magnetic pull. Metal objects can become dangerous projectiles if they are taken into the scan room. 

Imagine the force of the magnet this size if you are wearing something metal or with a magnetic force...even as small as an earring or hear-aide, for example. We we never want to see your watch or see phone be destroyed by the magnet field! 

That is why careful pre-screening occurs for every person to ensure no metal enters into the work zone (including the technicians, porters and housekeeping staff) and the scan suite. 

Personal safety is the upmost concern so we need to check out everything a patient is wearing, including implants or prosthetics.

Anything else that is interesting about the MRI? 

We recognize that not everyone loves coming to the hospital. We also know that many have anxiety and claustrophobia. We have worked hard to consider the design to help foster a sense of relaxation with our beach-themed suite.

Hear more about the beach-themed suite, and how Langley's emergency services are growing: