MRI: Where high field, small footprint reign
Openness, patient friendliness and short bores top the list of new products and enhancements debuting this year at RSNA. Around the floor, systems are being featured that are easier to site and use - and that perform a wider variety of clinical exams.

Siemens Medical Solutions (Booth #2729) is bringing for the first time to RSNA its newly released Magnetom Espree open-bore 1.5T MRI system with an ultra short bore design. The system's 70 cm bore (and 125 cm length) allows for 60 percent of clinical studies to be performed with the patient's head outside of the bore. The average distance between a patient's head and the MRI magnet is almost one foot. The Espree combines strong gradient performance with Siemens' Total imaging matrix (Tim) technology. Tim is a whole body surface coil that enables the acquisition of high resolution images in a short amount time. Tim coils are very light, making them both easy to position and tolerate when scanning larger patients.

GE Healthcare (Booth #2700) is unveiling new MR technology called high definition magnetic resonance (HDMR) system. The technology provides physicians with greater image clarity in cases where patients are difficult to image due to movement, including Parkinson's patients who suffer from uncontrollable patient motion as well as children who do not respond to sedation, according to GE.

Philips Medical Systems (Booth #7113) is showing off its Panorama 1.0T open high-field MR system with active shielding. Along with the 45 cm field of view for large area coverage, the system also features the FastTrak dockable patient table. Panorama 1.0T incorporates a lightweight, actively shielded magnet, which means the system can be installed virtually anywhere. Philips also will be presenting clinical result highlights from the Achieva family incorporating FreeWave, Philips scalable 32-channel architecture. This will include results from Philips' whole body 3.0T program.

In addition, Philips is featuring its new MR NetForum Community website. NetForum brings the user community together on-line. Developed in close cooperation with Philips' clinical partners, NetForum enables customers to share clinical procedures in the form of digital ExamCards, containing the scanning protocols relevant to a particular clinical exam. ExamCards can be shared amongst NetForum users worldwide, who can download them directly into their scanner.

Toshiba America Medical Systems (Booth #7149) is bringing to RSNA its Vantage 1.5T MRI system. The ultra-short, ultra-wide-bore is equipped with Toshiba's Pianissimo technology which reduces scan noise by as much as 90 percent. Its hardware platform increases patient throughput and system utility, according to Toshiba. The company also will be showing off Opart, its cryogenless, superconducting, mid-field (0.35T) MR system. A new software package enhances images for an accurate diagnosis: basic, MRA, orthopedic and advanced neurological. The system offers users a full complement of high performance coils that best suit the patient and imaging parameters, superconducting image quality for diagnostic clarity, and complete DICOM connectivity.

In addition, Toshiba is exhibiting Ultra that boasts a powerful gradient performance for high-resolution imaging: 25 mT/m gradient strength, 100 T/m/s slew rate. The system has a vertical opening of 55cm, four-sided accessibility with direct visual contact, maximum "eye to surface distance," and a 500-pound capacity, manual or motorized table to accommodate even large patients.

Resonance Technology Inc. (Booth #8323) is showcasing CinemaVision, an MRI-compatible virtual reality system, with enhancements that raise sound and video quality and provide internet-based monitoring to detect minor system problems remotely. A new range of features provide enhanced flexibility for users. Patients can see technologists during the scanning process through the CinemaVision virtual reality system, stereo sound can be adjusted by patients directly from within the magnet bore and technologists can select their own virtual entertainment during the scan process. CinemaVision features a digital audio system with 30 dB noise-attenuating headset with 40Hz - 40kHz frequency response. It is compatible with 4T-rated field strength magnets.