When Should You Consider a Private MRI in Canada?

Did you know that LA’s Wilshire Boulevard has more MRI machines than the whole of British Columbia?

Yes, you read that correctly: there are more MRI machines on one street in Los Angeles than in the entire province of BC. At only 6 MRI machines per 1 million people, Canada trails far behind other developed countries when it comes to modern health care, and many patients are unaware of the long wait times associated with diagnostic imaging until they are in need of a scan.

MRI machines are life-saving devices, but they are also incredibly expensive, and not only to purchase. MRI machines run on hydrogen, and a worldwide hydrogen shortage means that simply keeping the machines scanning is costly in itself. The high cost of MRI has meant longer wait times (six months on average!) for Canadians relying on the publicly funded health care system.  The obvious problem with waiting and waiting (and waiting) for an MRI is that your health conditions could worsen and spread in the interim before you’re admitted for a scan at the hospital.

In the case of cancer, some life-threatening tumours can double in size during the average wait time for an MRI in Canada.

For example:

Lung – 133 days

Liver (HCC – hepatocell carcinoma) – 112 days

Bowel – 365 days

Importantly, this does not predict how long it may take before tumour metastasis, ie. the spread of cancer to other organs via the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

Other maladies that could arise or worsen within a six-month time frame are:


-Multiple Sclerosis


-Abnormalities in abdominal organs

-Spine degeneration

-Atrophy of muscles following limited range of motion after injury


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