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​​The Major Specialized Equipment Team under Redevelopment helped advance medical imaging technology at UHN by leading the installation of four new state-of-the-art MRIs, weighing up to 13 tonnes each, at Toronto Western Hospital (TWH).

With funds secured from the UHN Foundation, Ministry of Health and Siemens, the team planned, designed and led the construction of TWH's new Slaight Family Centre for Advanced MRI. The new Centre will not only help the Joint Department of Medical Imaging scan more patients – about 2,000 exams each month – but also better manage wait times, improve image quality and standards of care.

With the help of clinical staff, the team planned the 8,690 square foot renovation around four new MRI suites housing each magnet: one Siemens Prisma 3.0T MRI for research purposes, one Vida 3.0T MRI and two 1.5T Sola MRIs for clinical purposes.

Construction began in 2018 with the demolition of the existing MRI area on the third floor of TWH's Fell Pavilion, which had to be carefully planned as it sits directly above 15 Operating Rooms. Noise containment barriers were used and construction times worked around the OR schedule, so as not to disturb surgeons.

With each individual MRI weighing up to 13 tonnes, some of TWH's existing infrastructure had to be replaced, including its concrete floors, which were demolished and swapped with floating floor – which acts similar to a trampoline – to support the machines' impressive weight.

The team not only planned the overall layout and design of the Slaight Family Centre for Advanced MRI but also strategically planned the installation of each machine, including how to safely move a 13-tonne magnet through a bustling hospital caring for patients.

First, each magnet was lifted via crane into a blown-out wall on the third floor. From there, a team of about 10 people pushed the machine inch by inch down a hallway toward its appropriate MRI suite. Underneath that hallway on the second floor, steel beams were set up to support the weight of the magnet as it slowly travelled to its designated room. This process took up to two days for each individual MRI.

After years of planning and construction, the Slaight Family Centre for Advanced MRI officially opened to patients and researchers in November 2021. The new space now offers improved staff and patient safety with a calming and therapeutic environment, safety measures like emergency call bells for patients in need of assistance, accessible washrooms and change rooms.

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