New State-of-the-Art MRIs to Foster Stroke, Epilepsy, Breast Cancer Research



A telescopic crane used steel-belted straps hoisted two new, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems over the two-story-high trees ofAscension Seton Medical Center Austin‘s south entrance.

After that, about a dozen men put their shoulders and more to work to roll more than 15 tons of leading-edge medical technology down the hallway and into the hospital’s new MRI center adjacent to the emergency department.

The MAGNETOM Skyra and MAGNETOM Aera, built by Siemens Healthcare – will be used for groundbreaking research on improving care locally and worldwide for stroke patients. The new MRIs will be used by Dr. Steven Warach and other medical researchers with the Seton/UT Southwestern Clinical Research Institute to advance stroke treatment in Central Texas and elsewhere in the U.S.

The MRIs also will be used for patient care in Ascension Seton Austin’s emergency department and for inpatients.

The Skyra system, which is the larger and most advanced of the two systems, provides for faster diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients and also will foster medical research in the coming years in areas such as epilepsy and breast cancer.

Once the Skyra is up and running, Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin will have the most advanced MRI capabilities of any hospital in Central Texas. It is valued at $2.5 million; the Aera is valued at $2 million.


Both systems needed to be moved, carefully and very slowly, from the trucks and with the utmost care through hallways so they can be installed in the new MRI area near the hospital’s cafeteria. It took nearly an hour for each system to be taken off the truck and pushed down the lobby hallway on Jan. 12.

The systems will be tested over the next couple of weeks to ensure they are fully operational. After that, Ascension Seton MRI staff will be trained to operate the systems over several more weeks.

MRI is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to investigate the anatomy and function of the body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to form images of the body. The technique is widely used in hospitals for medical diagnosis and follow-up without radiation exposure.