EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The region’s first portable magnetic resonance imaging system went into operation Tuesday at University Medical Center.

The system, known as the Swoop, is revolutionizing MRI scanning by bringing the MRI system to patients, at bedside, according to a news release issued by the hospital.

“This is another advanced tool our providers have to have scans done for patients who are too sick or unable to be transported downstairs for imaging,” said Greg Erickson, assistant administrator for ancillary services. “This is a system that brings health care in El Paso another step forward, in line with what we are seeing in some of the top health care systems in the nation. For the last month, we have been training 25 UMC associates to operate the system and now, in time for Christmas, it’s ready for patients.”

Initially, the Swoop system will be used for follow-up scans on patients with brain injuries or otherwise being treated for brain issues in UMC’s Neuro ICU Department. “Not only does this bring added conveniences, but it also expedites our ability to provide MRI’s when medically necessary. This brings the system to the patient, in minutes,” Erickson said.

The Swoop system is small enough to fit in elevators and through doorways, making it very maneuverable in large, busy hospital environments, such as UMC, the news release  stated.

The Swoop is manufactured by Hyperfine and is the world’s first magnetic resonance imaging system capable of providing neuroimaging at the point of care.

Hyperfine designed the Swoop system to address the limitations of current imaging technologies and make MR imaging accessible nearly anytime and anywhere in a hospital setting. The system drives directly to a patient’s bedside, plugs into a standard electrical outlet, and is controlled by an Apple iPad. It is  ready to scan in less than three minutes.