Most people have more than a few questions right out of the gate as they consider an imaging project, especially when they're looking at an MRI scanner. When considered against all other modalities, MRI is one of the most involved in terms of logistical challenges, site planning, and technical knowledge.
Part of being prepared for a project is about asking the right questions and fully understanding the answers. One of these questions should be (scratch that, MUST be): “How big of a room do I need for my MRI suite?” Keep reading for some basic tips and pointers that will help you build more accurate expectations for your MRI scanner project.
MRI Suite Rooms
First off, it's important to understand that a 1.5T MRI suite is actually comprised of three rooms:
1. Scan Room
This room is where the magnet and the table live. It's where your patients will be scanned.
2. Equipment Room
This space is home to the gradient cabinets, compressors, and other electronics that connect to the magnet.
3. Control Room
The technologist will work from this room during the scan. It houses a workstation (computer, monitor, etc.) along with a desk, chair, and any other office miscellania you might like to keep on hand.
While it's not required, it's very common for facilities to build in a small changing room for patients. This improves their experience and can also be a helpful place for you to store your QA phantoms, manuals, or other system accessories.
MRI Suite Dimensions
Recommendations for room dimensions vary by manufacturer, but here are some general minimums that should work for the majority of 1.5T models:
• Scan Room: 21’-6” X 13’-4” with 8’-9” ceiling height (after shielding is installed)
• Equipment Room: 11’-0” X 11’-6” with 8’-0” ceiling height (after shielding)
• Control Room: 12’ X 8’ (this is typically ample room for workstation, desk/chair, and a bit of storage)
While minimum dimensions are OK to use in your site planning, be aware that they can result in increased service time. With only minimal space to work in, service personnel will need to exercise extra caution. Minimum dimensions can also restrict the possibility of HVAC or system-related upgrades that may need to be made in the future. If it's possible to give your system some extra breathing room, it's a great idea to do so.
The best recommendation we can make is to consult with your installer or your vendor's project manager to see which room layout will work best for patient comfort and staff workflow in the space you have available, or the space you intend to create.
If you have additional questions about planning your suite or any other aspect of your upcoming MRI project, check out our MRI Project Planning Checklist to become better acquainted with all the steps and moving parts that may come your way.