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MR Technology Designed for Musculoskeletal Imaging

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 16 Mar 2011
A new musculoskeletal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system provides precise imaging of the arm, including elbow, wrist and hand, or the leg, including knee, ankle, and foot.

The technology improves patient comfort because only targeted anatomy needs to be inside the scanner. GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, UK) announced US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of the Optima MR430s, a new specialty scanner that delivers the comfort patients appreciate and the 1.5 T image quality radiologists require.

The Optima MR430s is a small, efficient MR system featuring a compact design. The system has industry leading gradients, delivering 70 mT/m strength and 300 T/m/s slew rate. Short echo spacing and high signal-to-noise ratio enable high resolution and sharp images. The system comes in a small footprint of approximately 20.6 m2.

"Our goal is to guide our patients to the right MRI scanner for their needs,” said William B. Morrison, MD, Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA, USA). "For those patients who need extremities scanned, the first goal is comfort. The second is to keep patients still so we can get the best image consistency. The quicker the patient is in and out, the better it is for everyone. We're assured that we get excellent quality images.”

For technologists, the innovative design of the system helps improve productivity by alleviating time-consuming tasks, such as positioning patients and managing their anxiety. Six isocentric dedicated radiofrequency (RF) coils can accommodate a full range of patient sizes and anatomies. The system's design also ensures that the targeted anatomy is precisely positioned at the magnet's isocenter and coil proximity increases signal-to-noise ratio for high clarity--even in small anatomies.

"Greater patient comfort with uncompromised image quality is at the heart of the design of this system,” said Paritosh Dhawale, general manager of specialty MR for GE Healthcare. "Because their head remains outside of the scanner, the patient experience is more comfortable than that of a conventional MR scanner. Additionally, children may be joined by an adult in the exam room. Overall, these features combine to provide a remarkably improved MRI experience for the patient.”

The Optima MR430s helps alleviate the demand on a hospital's full-body scanner. As an addition to a busy radiology department, the system can relieve patient backlogs to boost department efficiency. A small footprint allows for easy siting and lower installation costs.

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