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How Much Does it Cost to Rig an MRI Scanner?

Posted by Matt Bushart

Oct 30, 2019, 1:15:00 PM

rigging-mri-machineMRI machine buyers, sellers, brokers- across the board, they all have questions about how much they're going to spend rigging a magnet. The real answer to these questions: Every situation is unique.

We know. That’s exactly the kind of cop-out answer you were hoping NOT to get when you began searching, but it’s all too true. So before you click your back button and return to that search results page to find a “straight answer”, we want you to know exactly what factors make this such a touchy number to come up with, and what information you should be prepared to offer when you begin shopping around for your MRI rigging project. 


Factors that Determine MRI Rigging Cost 

Magnet Type

Which type of magnet you're planning to move is important to know because system weights vary greatly. Heavier systems require more heavy-duty equipment to move which, in turn, can increase cost. Open magnet MRI scanners are generally quite a bit heavier than closed-bore scanners. For example, the open GE Ovation weighs around 42,000 pounds, while a closed Siemens Symphony weighs around 20,000 pounds.

Weight isn't the only aspect of rigging affected by your magnet type. The status of the magnetic field also needs to be accounted for. Open magnets are permanently magnetized, so extra care must be taken to minimize the impact of the magnetic field on the surrounding area while it's being moved. On the other hand, a closed magnet has no magnetic field once taken off power, so moving down the hall past the IT server room won't be an issue. Every precaution your rigging provider has to take will have a portion of cost tied to it.

Magnet Location  

The location of your magnet within your facility is one of the biggest factors that will determine your rigging cost. Is it in the basement? Is it on the tenth floor? Does your MRI suite overlook a busy street, or a parking lot? In some cases, a rigger will need to contact authorities in your city to close lanes of traffic that run adjacent to your building. Our team has even worked on projects where the crane operator can't see the magnet and has to be guided to it via radio. The moral of the story: the more convoluted your magnet's path is, the more the rigging will cost.

If you're planning to move a magnet into a facility that's being built new, you can make the rigging process easier and cheaper by building your MRI suite with a roof hatch or a knock-out panel wall that can be opened easily to allow an MRI machine through. Not only is this convenient when you move in, it will also save you hassle in the future when it comes time to upgrade to a new magnet.

Site Location 

It's been our experience that rigging costs can vary greatly based on your geographic location. Costs in a major city, especially in the northeast or on the west coast, can cost quite a bit more than in the south or mid-west. Surprisingly, given the distances riggers have to travel to reach them, we’ve found that rural areas are often more affordable for rigging work.

How Much Does MRI Rigging Cost?

Now that you’ve heard the long-winded (but true) version, we can give you some numbers that should help you begin to build your expectations for rigging cost..

On the extreme low end, we've seen costs come back around $5,000. These are the most straightforward rigging jobs ( a closed MRI, on the ground floor, in a building with a roof hatch, facing a parking lot) in only the most accommodating areas.

On average, rigging costs come back around $7,000 - $8,000. These are jobs that present moderate challenges- perhaps a few twists and turns in the magnet's paths or shielding for a permanent magnet- but are approached proactively with plenty of advance planning time.

On the extreme high end, we've seen a rigging job cost $60,000. Weight, shielding, heavy city traffic, convoluted hallways- every factor that adds to rigging costs was at play in this instance.

So, how much should you plan to pay for your individual rigging project? The best way to get a precise answer is to contact a rigging provider and have them visit your site for an inspection. With a first-hand understanding of your building's design, the layout of the surrounding area, and your magnet's weight and dimensions, an experienced professional can customize a quote for your specific circumstances.

If you need help with rigging, or any other aspect of an MRI project, our project management team is ready to help with delivery, logistics, rigging, installation, site drawings, and more. To keep learning, give us a call or download our MRI Project Planning Checklist below.

Free MRI Project Planning Checklist

Written by Matt Bushart

author of blog post

Matt Bushart is a Project Manager at Block Imaging. His goal is to provide communication and support that make imaging projects seamless for equipment buyers. When he’s not serving customers, Matt enjoys hunting, fishing, and traveling Michigan with his family.

Topics: MRI, Imaging Equipment Project Management

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