MR vendors take center stage in ECR’s Technical Exhibition

March 5, 2008

A keen sense of anticipation is building up among ECR 08 delegates, as the deadline approaches for the grand opening of the Technical Exhibition on Friday afternoon.

A keen sense of anticipation is building up among ECR 08 delegates, as the deadline approaches for the grand opening of the Technical Exhibition on Friday afternoon.GE Healthcare's latest high-definition MR system, Signa HDxt, is available in both 1.5T and 3T field strengths. It has been developed with two applications, which the company hopes will significantly expand this technology's clinical value. The first, Cube, is designed to replace standard 2D data acquisition in multiple planes. "Our intention is to produce an architecture that will democratize the technology," said Stefano Vagliani, general manager of GE's European MR business. "We believe Cube will change the way that radiologists use MRI. Instead of acquiring slices, as with conventional MR, it acquires a volume in a given direction. The new software will treat and reformat the data in any given plane without losing its submillimeter-level spatial resolution. It is like the volume acquisition achievable with CT, but we can combine the spatial resolution of CT with the contrast resolution of MRI."High-resolution reformatting can be done at the operating console in the axial, sagittal, coronal, and oblique planes, using fast and easy-to use reformatting tools that take less than a minute to run, according to GE.The vendor's other new application, Ideal, is capable of producing four separate images from a single acquisition and may succeed where traditional fat suppression techniques often fail. Its multiple contrast settings - fat, water, and combined fat/water in phase and out-of-phase - produce images with uniform fat suppression, virtually eliminating variation in results from patient to patient and from technologist to technologist.Vagliani maintains that these two new applications will produce synergistic benefits for the workload of a radiology department. Together, Cube and Ideal can increase the diagnostic power of users by 20% to 30%, he said.Esaote, a leading company in the field of dedicated extremity MRI, is displaying the latest addition to its product range, known as S-scan. Developed from its G-scan tilting device, the new product is compact, efficient, and cost-effective for any medical centre dealing with a large volume of musculoskeletal injuries. These remain the second most important application of MRI after central nervous system examinations, according to the vendor.S-scan is appropriate for all types of musculoskeletal MR scans, from foot to shoulder, but particularly for the most important lumbar and cervical spinal components. It is based on a 0.25T open permanent magnet, and its open-designed and large rotating patient table aim to maximize patient comfort, while reportedly reducing anxiety and claustrophobia.Siemens Medical Systems' 1.5T Magnetom Essenza is designed to be the most affordable new MRI system currently available. The company hopes that the product will allow smaller healthcare facilities to offer a range of imaging services that would previously have been impractical.It is available at a lower initial cost than other 1.5T products, and savings of up to 25% may be attainable on installation costs for space, power requirements, and construction. This is partly due to the low weight of the core technology, particularly its 3.5-ton magnet, which gives a facility more options because the magnet can be installed on higher floors.The unit's high-performance electronics can reduce energy consumption by up to 50%. The magnet also has zero helium boil-off, so there is no need to regularly replace the cooling components, and the system is ready for operation. Yet with its 30 mT/m gradients, the Essenza still offers excellent image quality for all clinical applications, according to Siemens.Meanwhile, Philips Healthcare is concentrating on operator-friendly systems to simplify workflow within the department. Notably, this involves the latest refinements to its SmartExam technology, a tool allowing an entire MR examination to be driven by a single mouse click, increasing efficiency and reproducibility. Introduced originally as a brain imaging tool, the software has been adapted for knee, spine, and shoulder applications, enabling automated planning, scanning, and processing."SmartExam automates the entire acquisition protocol. In this way, examinations are performed in precisely the same way that they would be if a technologist was carrying out every step. Regardless of patient position or age, or the pathology or technologist, clinicians obtain excellent reproducibility," said Kevin Haydon, executive vice president and CEO of global sales and service for Philips Healthcare. "The end result is consistent scanning performance and improved efficiency. SmartExam helps multitasking in the MR department and allows doctors to focus on the patients, instead of having to worry about postprocessing the data."Finally, ECR attendees should head to the Hitachi booth for details about Oasis, the new open MRI system with a superconducting 1.2T vertical field magnet.The Technical Exhibition will be unveiled on Friday at 14:00, and it will remain open until 18:00 today. You can also visit the exhibits from 10:00 to 18:00 on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

 
Knee image showing tear in meniscus was performed on 1.5T Magnetom Essenza system from Siemens. 3T image showing kidney cysts was carried out on Magnetom Verio machine from Siemens.