This example shows where an MRI Cervical optimized, can you tell which one is from the 3T?
The MRI Cervical optimized on a 1.5T field strength mri system can look as good as if not better than images from a 3T MRI system after the protocol has been optimized by MRI Optimize Consultants.
While the 3T system has twice the signal to noise, the 3T scanner requires four times more SAR (specific absorption rate) to acquire those images, which means the patient heats up faster with the RF energy that is used to create the images from spinning the hydrogen protons. Most systems have more signal, but many of those 3T systems are not optimized, such as the image on the left below.
Don’t let folks tell you that just because they have a 3T system, their images are better. This is a myth propagated by marketers to make the sale. Signal to Noise is the factor relied upon, but there are many other alternative factors which can deplete image quality in a 3T MRI system as well. Image quality equates to much much more than field strength. Patient motion, correct coaching and patient care, proper MRI physics parameters, correct parameter use, correct patient positioning, correct sequence slice assignment, along with manipulation of the acquisition factors all are part of the final product.
Left Image/ 3T Right Image / 1.5T
Rough pixelated anatomy Smooth clear anatomy
Odontoid Process obscured Odontoid Process Anatomy clear
Look carefully at both images.
The patient here was scanned on a competitors’ 3T MRI scanner, then that same patient returned to the 1.5T site optimized by MRI Optimize Consultants.
Doesn’t the image quality of the MRI cervical optimized on the right seem much better than the one on the left?
The slice thicknesses are the same, and the gap interval between slices are the same, but the image on the right has smoother borders on the anatomy, and the image on the left from the 3T appears grainy, and the anatomy rough. Look near the top of the odontoid process at Cervical 2, and you can see the anatomy much clearer on the 1.5T image on the right, than on the 3T image on the left.
Most radiologists would have a difficult time telling which system the 3T image is from if the images were not labeled.
By the way, the 3T system was installed in the competitor’s site in 2006, while the MRI cervical optimized was on a 1.5T short bore system installed five years prior and is an older scanner. We optimized this system in 2012.
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