SIOUX CITY | A powerful new MRI capable of producing full-body images in greater clarity is coming to Mercy Medical Center.

During a news conference Tuesday, Mercy leaders touted the new Tesla 3.0 magnet, which is scheduled to be installed at the Sioux City this month. It will replace an older, less powerful Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner.

Dr. Marwan Jarmakani, medical director for Mercy Radiology, compared the newer and older models to the difference between high-definition and analog television.

The Tesla 3.0, he said, will allow doctors to view fine details of such areas as the brain, spine, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. The more powerful magnet will allow the Sioux City hospital to start offering such scans, which in the future will also include breast biopsies.

Mercy President and CEO Bob Peebles said the magnet will allow area patients to have those procedures done closer to home, rather than driving to larger hospitals in Omaha or Sioux Falls.

The new MRI is expected to be installed in the radiology department on the fourth floor next week, Peebles said. It will require lifting the roof of the top, or fifth floor, and using a crane to lower the scanner into place.

"As we raise that roof, that will get us in great position for the next construction project, which is our brand new Intensive Care Unit," the CEO said at Tuesday's news conference.

Mercy plans to invest $13.8 million to renovate its existing ICU space and add another 2,550 square feet of space.

The new layout will create a single, 20-room unit, with all private, larger patient rooms. The update also includes adding waiting space for family, modifying the design of the nurses' stations to better serve the patients, and buying new equipment.

Demolition and foundation work has already begun. Peebles said the ICU construction is expected to commence in December, and take about 14 months to complete.