MRI: Playing the Field (Strength)

 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. Look for new high-field 3 Tesla systems as well as enhancements in coil technology to optimize image acquisition and scanner time.

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 provides physicians with a large access area for both medial and lateral approaches and accurate targeting and needle placement, and incorporates an integrated scan console and image acquisition software.

The technology platform features the capability to target multiple lesions in the same breast or both breasts in a single procedure and breast stabilization paddles for wide access to sample all breast sizes. The AuroraBiopsy system includes a needle guidance procedure which accommodates all current core biopsy or vacuum-assisted biopsy devices on the market.

 Wrist image acquired on GE ‘s Signa Excite 3.0T

GE Healthcare (Booth 1729) is presenting its Signa HDx 3.0 Tesla system as well as a portfolio for breast MRI studies.

The Signa HDx 3.0T features XVRE (expanded volume-reconstruction) engine technology for real-time image generation. 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 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 integration with Confirma’s CADstream breast MRI CAD software.

Hitachi Medical Systems America (Booth 1144) is introducing its Oasis MRI system featuring a boreless design.

At 1.2-Tesla field strength, Oasis’ boreless design features a high-strength, whole-body vertical field magnet, and Hitachi’s Zenith RF technology maximizes the available high signal to noise.

The Oasis system is equipped with Higher Order Active Shimming Technology to optimize RF fat saturation and RADAR motion compensating scanning technology for all imaging planes and all coils. The device also features fast gradients and an array of pulse sequences to meet the clinical and throughput expectations of high-field MRI.

Medrad (Booth 8513) is introducing the 3T Prostate eCoil MR Endorectal Coil (eCoil) compatible with 3-Tesla MR scanners manufactured by Philips Medical Systems and Siemens Medical Solutions.

The 3T Prostate eCoil conforms to the size and shape of the prostate for consistent contact between the gland and the signal-amplifying elements of the coil. The result is small field-of-view (FOV) and high spatial resolution, sensitivity, and specificity that yield clearer pictures of the prostate. The Prostate eCoil also is available for 1.5-Tesla environments.

 ONI Medical Systems: MSK Extreme

ONI Medical Systems (Booth 5104) is demonstrating the capabilities of its latest innovation, the MSK Extreme with Smart Fat. The MSK Extreme Smart Fat can better suppress signal from fat—resulting in artifact-free, Fast Spin Echo images, ONI says.

Philips Medical Systems (Booth 4129) is demonstrating its Achieva 1.5T, Achieva 3.0T X-series, and Achieva XR cylindrical MR scanners; its  Panorama high-field open scanners; and solutions to assist customers in capturing clinical market share.

Philips has expanded its SmartExam application, an automated MR planning, scanning and processing tool to encompass new anatomy.

The company’s 16-channel Achieva 1.5T, in concert with optimal SENSE (sensitivity encoding for fast MRI) technology and dedicated coils, enables better coverage, higher resolution, fewer artifacts, and faster scan times.

Philips also has several offerings to help build MRI service lines. Among the highlights are:

  • The Achieva XR, a MRI scanner that is installed at 1.5T, but can be “ramped up” to 3T without replacing the magnet.
  • Philips’ system utilization service, which provides detailed analysis of scanner usage.
  • The Panorama HFO MRI system, which provides customers with competitive differentiation through its combination of open design for patient comfort and high field strength.
  • The Achieva 3.0T X-series, which enables users to offer differentiating high field strength imaging while expanding the clinical applications they offer into emerging areas.

Resonance Technology (Booth 2951) is introducing a range of features to its FuncLAB automated functional MRI (fMRI) image data processing system and its CinemaVision audio-video entertainment systems for MRI devices.

CinemaVision features a more powerful audio phone integrated into its lightweight audio-video headset, enhanced noise cancellation technology, and a resolution of 240,000 pixels for each of the two displays. The entire headset fits within the MRI coil.

As part of its fMRI technology, Resonance Technology is debuting a 1,000 Hz MRI eye tracker camera, complete with proprietary data analysis software used with the firm’s VisuaStim audio-visual stimulation module.

The company also is unveiling the next generation of its funcLAB turnkey fMRI solution. The offering combines complete functional imaging task presentation featuring high-quality 3D graphics and sound capabilities with fully automated data processing, eliminating complex, time-intensive manual data analysis.

 Siemens: Magnetom Essenza 1.5T MRI

Siemens Medical Solutions (Booth 7713) is debuting its Magnetom Essenza 1.5-Tesla high-field MRI system.

The Magnetom Essenza  features a zero helium boil-off magnet to ensure maximum uptime and is targeted for the small hospital and imaging center market.

The Magnetom Essenza supports a range of clinical applications, including neurology, orthopedics, body imaging, angiography, cardiology, breast imaging, oncology and pediatric imaging. The device has up to 25 integrated coil elements and eight independent RF channels, V-engine gradients (30 mT/m), and incorporates Siemens’ Tim (Total imaging matrix) technology that can help boost patient throughput.

The system also features Siemens’ newest coil innovation, the IsoCenter Matrix coil, which is placed in the isocenter of the magnet, meaning that it is always in position and ready to scan. The IsoCenter Matrix coil also can be used in flexible combinations with anterior coils and works as a 140-cm coil in multi-step exams to avoid repositioning.

 Toshiba: Vantage Atlas 1.5T MRI

Toshiba America Medical Systems (Booth 7130) is previewing its 3-Tesla MR system as a work in progress as well as demonstrating system enhancements to its Vantage Atlas 1.5T MRI systems.

At the core of Toshiba’s new 3T product is a new magnet design that combines a short bore with high homogeneity. In addition, the new system features Toshiba’s Pianissimo technology, which reduces noise, solving one of the primary concerns facing 3T imaging. 

The company also is demonstrating enhancements to its Vantage Atlas 1.5T MRI system—a short-bore, multi-channel system with a large clinical field-of-view. The Atlas design is a 128-element system with an integrated coil concept that allows clinicians to perform multiple exams without repositioning coils, resulting in more comfortable exams and enhanced workflow. 

All Toshiba’s Vantage systems include software for contrast-free MR angiography (MRA) procedures with three proprietary Toshiba techniques: fresh blood imaging (FBI), contrast-free improved angiography (CIA), and Time-SLIP.