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Philips gets patent for open MRI

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Philips has received a patent for a technology similar to that used in an open MRI scanner, but don't expect the company to introduce an open system based on the patent any time soon. The company confirmed that it has received the patent, but said that

Philips has received a patent for a technology similar to that used in an open MRI scanner, but don't expect the company to introduce an open system based on the patent any time soon. The company confirmed that it has received the patent, but said that it has no plans to develop a commercial product as described in the patent.

Philips is one of the few major MRI vendors that does not have an open-style magnet in its product line. The Dutch vendor has said that its short-bore magnets have advantages over open-style systems due to their higher field strengths and superconducting architectures.

The technology described in the patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,666,056, is for an MRI system with a main magnet that has a frame with two magnetic elements that face each other, creating a gap in which the patient is imaged.

A Philips spokesperson said the company doesn't plan to develop an open-style magnet based on the technology covered by the patent, but does not rule out the future development of a Philips open MRI scanner.

"We have no plans to develop the product as described (in the patent), which does resemble an open MR system," the spokesperson said. "However, as in any planning process, we are always evaluating product development to meet market demands."

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