MRI vendors have continued to ring out more ways to make 1.5 Tesla MRI systems more powerful and precise while setting their sights (and sites, too) on the future inevitable dominance of 3T systems. As one company described it, "Tesla envy" is beginning to rule the day. Vendors and healthcare facilities watch each other tirelessly. If your neighbor has a 3T, then you're probably going to get one too -- if your budget allows, of course.
Certainly those investing in 1.5 T will not be disappointed, however, for there are a plethora of new developments that make them dynamic and fully functional, allowing for more flexibility and precision in imaging than ever before. At RSNA, technological advancements included tilting and upright systems and better coils that are propelling this system evolution forward.
Specifically, several companies unveiled the latest in cardiac and breast MR imaging, with the latter being an alternative to traditional mammography without the radiation concerns. A number of developments in motion correction also were shown for difficult-to-image patients or complex exams.
Another big topic: Workflow. Multiple products on display have been designed to simplify imaging and processing as well as to speed up overall scan times and make review and analysis tools available across the enterprise.
If you didn't make it all the way around the floor or not on the show floor at all, here are some details of what MRI vendors had on display - and at the bottom is an update on new products and features to be used alongside MRI. Vendors are listed in alphabetical order.
Esoate SpA showcased a number of its MR systems, including the company's G-Scan "Tilting MRI" which is still awaiting FDA approval for use in the U.S.
The G-Scan has been installed in Europe in a few countries including Italy, Germany, and Austria, Esaote said. The system is currently being clinically tested before its release here which takes a little longer given its uniqueness.
G-SCAN is an MRI platform for use in all musculoskeletal applications with the tilting design offering a unique way through which patients can be positioned during exams. It therefore provides an optimal way to image all joints including the spine. The system can perform true weight bearing MRI incorporated in a standard MRI system.
Esoate SpA also highlighted the other systems in its MR series including C-Scan (hand, knee, foot) and E-Scan (includes shoulder imaging).
The company also offered details regarding its MR system developed especially for veterinarians called Vet MR.
Fonar Corp. highlighted its research and development in new applications of its Upright MR imaging, with its True Flow imaging of the cardiovascular system. The company believes there is an urgent need to make the type of Upright MR and its benefits available to the cardiovascular patient as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., the company said.
Many congestive heart failure (CHF) patients cannot be scanned due to the fact that they cannot lie flat. However, patients with this limitation now can be scanned using the Upright MR. The technology could make it possible for a patient's right ventricle chamber size to be measured to determine if pulmonary hypertension exists and to assess its severity, according to Fonar.
The company's initial concentration was on the neuro-orthopedic applications of Upright imaging, consisting primarily of perfecting technologies for Upright imaging for visualizing the spine and other joints under a full weight load.
GE Healthcare (GEHC) demonstrated the features of its Signa HD MR line with a number of new features available for its 1.5T and 3T systems, as well as some advancements in MRI coil technology.
GE's Signa HDe 1.5T is an entry-level system which takes up 30 percent less space than traditional systems which makes it considerably more "site-able," GE said. Other benefits of the smaller design are a shorter (one week) install time, the inclusions of just one electronic cabinet, an acoustically quieter design, and an overall 25 percent lower cost of operations, without sacrificing items on the application menu, according to the company.
The HDx 1.5T model is a faster, higher-resolution premium MR unit and includes a full range of components including ultra-fast image reconstruction through the new XVRE recon engine, advancements in parallel imaging algorithms, and a new interlocking, high-density