Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems are crucial equipment that every hospital must have to cater to as many patient needs as possible. However, finding the appropriate MRI imaging equipment can often be challenging, given the wide range of choices available, particularly for machines of higher field strength. In this area, machines are much more expensive, costing at least twice as much as 1.5T machines, which are the most common ones.
Suppose hospitals and clinics were to keep up with the rapid advancements in technology and provide the best service possible to their patients. In that case, they’ll have to assess the cost and benefit of upgrading to a stronger MRI magnet. Here’s what you need to know on MRI field strength and if stronger magnets are always necessary:
Understanding MRI Parts: Field Strength
Your MRI machine uses its magnet’s magnetic field strength to produce high-quality, incredibly detailed scans. The stronger the field, the stronger the signal, which means the scans will have better overall quality. It is measured in teslas (T), and higher field strengths mean quicker throughput. The measurement is also proportional, which means a 3T machine is twice as strong as a 1.5T machine.
Many clinics use MRI scanners between 0.2T to 3.0T, while research facilities need much stronger MRI machines, performing scans in field strengths up to 11.7T. Most hospitals use 1.5T machines, but some higher-end and more advanced ones use 3T machines.
The Importance of Coils and Channels
Apart from magnetic field strength, a machine’s coils and channels are crucial to the process and output. The number of coils determines the number of channels your system can offer, corresponding to the number of coil elements. Meanwhile, the channel is the MRI system’s receiver pathway.
More channels equate to better image quality and faster speeds. Many modern MRI machines use various channels, spanning 4 to 32 or more. The rise of on-coil digitization technology allows systems to offer more channels even with fewer coils, improving a facility’s services without investing in a new machine. If you’re considering an MRI magnet’s field strength, you’ll need to make sure that you factor in the channels as well. Some units with lower forces have more channels available, making it a more efficient machine.
The Appropriate Magnet Strength for Your Facility
Finding the right MRI magnet with the appropriate field strength highly depends on your facility’s needs, as it must be strong enough to fulfill its intended purpose. It’s important to note that some aspects show up better on 3T or higher machines, while others present just fine at much lower field strengths.
To determine how potent your MRI magnet should be, you must assess how much strength you need to perform tests. Keep in mind that the stronger the equipment, the more expensive it will be, so if you’re doing only routine scans, the usual 1.5T machine should be just fine. Stronger isn’t always better, and each field strength comes with its pros and cons.
Upgrading your MRI system ultimately boils down to whether or not it’s performing as well as you’d like. If you regularly scan smaller body parts or areas that require more signal, you’ll benefit from higher field strength. However, if the scans you perform aren’t as intensive, you probably won’t need to upgrade. Still, when in doubt, it’s best to consult a professional to find the best MRI magnet for your facility.
DirectMed Parts is the leading supplier and source for medical imaging parts and services. Whether you have a Siemens MRI symphony or a Philips MRI Achieva, we have the MRI parts you need. Contact us today to find out how else we can help you!