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MRI’s Cold Head Repair and Maintenance – How To Guide

Jan 29, 2021 | How Tos, MRI

Your magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner is a piece of vital equipment in your healthcare facility. It produces detailed images of the soft tissues of the body and helps you diagnose strokes, tumors, disc herniations, and other illnesses. Since this is a worthwhile investment, it’s important to learn how to use and maintain it properly to avoid damage.

This machine is expensive because it comprises many complex MRI parts, and getting them repaired or replaced can significantly impact your facility’s budget. One of these components is the cold head, which is located inside the MRI’s cooling system. It recondenses the helium gas back into a liquid. Therefore, it prevents helium from burning off way too fast or boiling off completely, saving you from the constant need for pricey helium supply refill.


What Are Some Common MRI Cold Head Issues?

  • Contamination

The cold head can get damaged once the helium inside gets contaminated with any impurities. It takes place when the oil from inside your MRI’s compressor finds its way into your cold head. When this happens, your machine can become less efficient or get your cold head damaged. Contamination occurs over time, but it can cause serious problems that can leave you seeking costly repairs or replacements. Therefore, it’s best to deal with them right away.

  • Wear and Tear

The cold head is responsible for protecting your equipment from overheating. Over time, expect it to have wear and tear as a result of continuous use. You can track this component’s performance by its recondensing margin. 

Your cold head tends to lose around an average of ten percent of its cooling capacity yearly. Keep track of the recondensing margin and have it immediately replaced once it reaches close to zero. Consult professionals for regular maintenance to help reduce the amount of its wear and tear, prolong its lifespan, and ensure your MRI’s optimal performance.

  • Helium Loss or Fluctuation

A dropping or fluctuating recondensing margin can be caused by an issue with your compressor, but it can also mean that your cold head fails to function properly to maintain the proper levels of liquid helium. Reach out to experts right away to identify the problem quickly and avoid the need for helium replacement.


How Do I Ensure My Cold Head Functions Properly?

Routine maintenance is vital to ensure your cold head’s proper functionality. By hiring professionals, they can inspect for potential contamination by conducting air and oil tests. They can also evaluate the recondensing margin, and they will advise you to get your cold head replaced to prevent helium from burning off quickly. Don’t forget to replace your cold head’s absorber to reduce the risk of contamination.


When Should I Replace My Cold Head?

How often you should replace your cold head depends on how well you have maintained it in good condition. For refurbished cold heads, they last between three to four years, while new cold heads could last up to five or more years. 



Without a properly functioning MRI’s cold head, you can end up affecting your facility’s budget since helium supply refills are costly. Prevent any damage from developing in the first place and expand your equipment’s lifespan by remembering the important information in this guide. Ensure regular inspection with professionals to reduce the amount of system downtime and deliver excellent care to your patients.

If you’re looking for a skilled team specializing in medical imaging parts and MRI coil repair, feel free to reach out to Direct Med Parts. We deliver accurate quality parts to your facility and help you maintain your machine’s exceptional performance. Contact us today to request a quote!

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