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Crane lifts giant magnet into place at UAMS

by Gavin Lesnick | December 2, 2013 at 11:18 a.m. | Updated December 2, 2013 at 11:50 a.m.
A 6,000-pound magnet is lowered into place by crane Monday at UAMS Medical Center.

A crane lifted a 6,000-pound magnet into place Monday morning for an update to a magnetic resonance imaging machine at UAMS Medical Center.

John Stansbury, administrative director of radiology, said the new technology with an imaging power of 1.5 Teslas brings the MRI up to the current standard in the industry.

But getting it in place wasn't an easy task. First, crews had to clear a path for the behemoth of a magnet, removing a set of doors and putting up a temporary wall to keep contaminants from outside from getting into the hospital.

Then, a 55-ton crane parked outside and lifted the about 3-ton magnet off the bed of a truck and onto the ground just outside the building.

A small crowd of UAMS officials gathered to watch the process, which took only a few minutes once the magnet was lifted off the truck.

"It's a new toy," Stansbury said. "Everyone gets excited when we're getting new equipment. We're all excited to have it, and it's not something that happens every day. Of course, we're excited to be keeping up."

Stansbury said a lot of work will still need to be completed to install the magnet in a new room with state-of-the-art lighting technology that lets patients pick any color to accent the walls. But once it's ready, it will primarily be used for cancer patients and orthopedic uses, he said.

UAMS has seven MRIs in all and conducts about 2,800 scans a month.


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