The medical field is an incredibly complex landscape. On one hand, nothing ever compares to the saving power of doctors and healthcare professionals, as they continue to overcome the clutches of death and extend lives. On the other, healthcare professionals also rely on progress and technology. Health is a human treasure that cannot be replicated nor taken away, and it’s in these two complex factors that every single person in the world relies on.
Continuous scientific research and breakthroughs are needed to ensure optimal human health, but one of the most innovative technologies continues to leave impacts across the globe—Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). It has undoubtedly been a game-changer in the medical field, as it offers doctors the means to diagnose diseases without resorting to unnecessary knife procedures.
MRI allows professionals to see how the human body works, from the soft brain tissues down to sturdy bone functions. It gives them clear pictures of the anatomy and physiology of different organs, helping them detect any anomalies that a person may have. Unfortunately, these MRI machines come at a cost, not just financially but skills. They necessitate the need to consume a massive amount of energy and require proper training for optimal operations and results.
To learn more about these medical machine wonders, we take a deeper look into its energy use and other requirements. Let’s begin:
How much energy do MRI machines use?
According to a study by Stanford University, an MRI machine that has conducted examinations for over 40,276 patients used a total of 614,825 kWh. It also used its built-in cooling systems, which then amounted to an energy consumption of 492,624 kWh. These figures represent 44.5% of the combined energy consumption of 1,107,450 kWh. In financial terms, this amounts to a whopping U.S. $199,341.
The Helium Factor
Since MRI machines consume energy to arrive at optimal results, large amounts of helium are needed to cool them down. The superconducting wires need to cool down to temperatures as low as 4 degrees Kelvin, but this necessitates massive amounts of helium.
According to a study by NEMA, MRI machines require 7,000 tons of helium every year. In other words, roughly 27% of the United State’s helium reserves are allocated to MRI machine use every year. This continues to spark environmental debate, especially since extractable helium is a finite source.
The Bottom Line: What It All Means
Although some continue to argue that MRI machines are not a sustainable choice, these machines save countless lives each year. It can be agreed that MRIs are costly, especially given the fact that they consume massive amounts of energy and helium per year. If we choose to eliminate MRI from the equation, however, modern medicine will likely crumble.
Considerable energy and cost-saving opportunities are pursued by experts, however, such as the need for cryogenics using optical atomic magnetometers. These developments support medical imaging, shaping a more sustainable and ergonomic future. For now, one thing is clear: human populations across the globe need the saving power of MRI machines. No matter how massive energy and helium consumption may be, it’s undeniable that these innovative equipment continues to change the healthcare landscape—and will continue to for years to come.
For more information on MRI machines, such as parts and services involved, DirectMed Parts is the place to go. We are the most trusted and knowledgeable regarding medical imaging, as our professionals are trained and skilled in the field. Allow us to handle your CT and MRI concerns, so that you can focus on what matters most—saving lives. Reach out to us today to learn more.