MRI: Playing the Field (Strength)

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Undaunted by the implementation of procedure reimbursement cuts this past January as mandated by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005, MRI manufacturers have responded with products and innovations to enhance clinical throughput and bolster service lines.

New, high-end 3-Tesla systems are being demonstrated as well as exciting new modality form factors in the technical exhibit halls of McCormick Place in Chicago. Look for enhancements in coil technology to optimize image acquisition and scanner time and be sure to check out new applications for existing scanner lines, which hold the promise to increase clinical certainty and enhance patient diagnosis.

Breast MRI continues to gain market acceptance and vendors will be showcasing dedicated systems, software, and interventional technology designed to further augment the capabilities of this imaging sector.

Rounding out the latest MRI offerings are dedicated extremity scanners, functional MRI (fMRI) image data processing systems, and audio-video entertainment systems for patient use during an MRI procedure.


Apollo Medical Imaging Technology (Booth 6428) is showcasing its software package MIStar with the DCE-MRI enhancement pattern classification function, which offers automated classification of curve patterns, and lesion segmentation analysis using all available time points of the data. It can be used as a screening tool for identification and delineation of potential lesions with abnormal contrast enhancement dynamics.

Aurora Imaging Technology (Booth 6754) is introducing AuroraBiopsy, an automated and integrated MR-guided breast biopsy platform for its Aurora Breast MRI system.

The AuroraBiopsy technology was designed specifically with a woman’s anatomy in mind. The patient table provides physicians with a large access area to the breasts for both medial and lateral approaches and allows accurate targeting and needle placement, coordinated with an integrated scan console and image acquisition software.

Unlike the more commonly used manual methods which allow for human error, with the AuroraBiopsy physicians no longer need to perform manual calculations and then count grid squares to determine needle placement, the company says.
The technology platform also features the capability to target multiple lesions in the same breast or both breasts in a single procedure. The system features breast stabilization paddles for wide access to sample all breasts sizes—small or large—and are inclusive to the Aurora System’s integrated package. The AuroraBiopsy system also includes a needle guidance procedure which accommodates all current core biopsy or vacuum-assisted biopsy devices on the market.

GE Healthcare (Booth 1729) is presenting leading-edge MRI technology highlighted by demonstrations of its Signa HDx 3.0T system as well as a portfolio for breast MRI studies.

Signa HDx 3.0T represents GE’s third-generation 3-Tesla platform. The modality features XVRE (expanded volume volume-reconstruction) engine technology that ensures virtually real-time image generation, according to GE. Clinical applications that utilize acceleration protocols such as ASSET (array spatial sensitivity encoding technique) and GEM (generalized encoding matrix) will see benefit from XVRE.

In addition, GE is featuring a broad range of solutions for MRI breast imaging, including: VIBRANT (volume imaging for breast assessment), for bilateral imaging; BREASE, for breast spectroscopy; and 8-Channel Breast Array, which features better access for intervention and a integration with Confirma’s CADstream breast MRI computer-aided detection (CAD) software.

GE’s VIBRANT (volume imaging for breast assessment) technology enables a non-invasive imaging procedure of both breasts simultaneously, in a single patient visit. The VIBRANT–XV platform further expands the capability to acquire high-resolution images at high speed, providing both enhanced anatomical detail as well as critical kinetic information.

GE’s MR BREASE spectroscopy package can help improve the ability to characterize benign breast lesions by showing differentiated concentrations of choline.

Also enhanced is HD MR technology that also is being highlighted with other additions to the HD family during RSNA 2007.

Hitachi Medical Systems America (Booth 1144) is introducing its Oasis MRI system, a new approach to high-performance MRI featuring a boreless design.

Equipped with proprietary Hitachi technologies, Oasis is the culmination of 20 years of