MRI Center Expands With Seven New Scanners

MRI Center Expansion Will Bring State-of-the-Art Scanners to the Medical Campus

March 22, 2019

Columbia University Irving Medical Center's Department of Radiology is renovating its MRI Center in Washington Heights to expand its patient care and research services. The multimillion dollar project includes the installation of seven state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, exponentially increasing capacity and bringing the center to the forefront of clinical and research imaging capability. 

MRI scanner being lowered into a building.
Columbia Radiology's multimillion dollar MRI Center renovation project began in August, 2018, with the removal of magnets. Photo Courtesy of Stephen Dashnaw.

“This new investment in the center will provide healthcare services to the community and valuable research tools to the university,” said Lawrence H. Schwartz, MD, chair of the Department of Radiology. “We are looking forward to bringing innovation to clinical translation and imaging science that will benefit our patients, faculty, and researchers.”

The renovation of the 15,700 square-foot center began in August, 2018, and will be executed in two phases over a two-year period. Phase one includes the installation of four new, state-of-the-art 3 Tesla (3T) MRI scanners—with one dedicated to research—as well as a new entrance and a centralized patient  reception area.  The new machines accommodate 40 to 50 patients per day, with individual scan times of 20 to 50 minutes. 

"Currently, patient services are limited by the technology we have, " said Stephen Dashnaw, Director of Imaging Services. "The new magnets have the ability to scan everything. We're receiving all the hardware and software that's necessary to have that flexibility."

The MRI system will benefit procedures, such as MR angiography, and enable the center to expand from brain and spine studies to orthopedic, prostate, pelvis, abdominal, and cardiac scans.  Improved spectroscopy, brain fiber tracking, and functional neuroimaging will also be available.

Patients at the center will see a newer, cleaner environment, potentially shorter exam times, and the highest quality images available today.  

The first phase of the renovation project is scheduled to be completed in fall, 2019. All services continue to operate during the renovation, weekdays from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.