The University of Minnesota will receive a third magnetic resonance imaging machine to meet high demand and reduce wait times.
The Board of Regents approved the $2 million MRI machine this month, Minnesota Daily reported. Construction will begin this summer and the machine will be operational in December.
Patients currently may have to wait up to three weeks to get an MRI at the university’s Clinics and Surgery Center. The center recently began administering MRIs on the weekends and extending hours to keep up with demand.
“One or two weeks probably doesn’t make much of a difference for (cancer) patients, but I can tell you emotionally, to not know whether you have cancer, or what the kind of cancer is, if you can’t get a scan within a week, that’s a very scary proposition,” said Charles Dietz, the chair of the University’s Department of Radiology.
The University of Minnesota Health has seen a 10 percent increase in MRI demands across the system annually, Dietz said. He said the system has to purchase a new machine every few years to keep up with demand.
“It’s important to continue to support the needs and the growth that we’ve had … and we can tell from our backlog that we’re not supporting them fully at this point,” said Joanne Johnson, a senior clinic manager at the Center for Clinical Imaging Research.
An MRI can be required to address different types of cancer and liver conditions, Dietz said.