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Picker sees MRI's future in Outlook

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Picker International is tossingits hat into the interventional MRI ring with Outlook, a new scannerto be shown as a work-in-progress at the RSNA meeting. The Clevelandvendor plans to market the system as a fully functional whole-bodyscanner that also

Picker International is tossingits hat into the interventional MRI ring with Outlook, a new scannerto be shown as a work-in-progress at the RSNA meeting. The Clevelandvendor plans to market the system as a fully functional whole-bodyscanner that also enables clinicians to explore the future ofinterventional MRI.

Outlook features an open-access C-shaped magnet, a design alsoused by Siemens' Magnetom Open scanner (SCAN 4/6/94). Outlookdiffers from Open in a number of important ways, however, accordingto manager of business development Richard Hullihen.

Outlook uses iron-core resistive magnet technology with a fieldstrength that is 20% higher than the 0.2-tesla Open, Hullihentold SCAN. This translates into either improved signal-to-noiseratio or faster scanning time. Outlook also has a patient gapthat is 20% larger than that of Open, allowing easier physicianaccess to patients, he said. The system weighs 12 tons and canbe ramped to field in 10 minutes.

To achieve a more stable magnetic field for Outlook, Pickerdeveloped a technology it calls electron spin resonance (ESR)field lock. ESR is the product of Picker's research in low-fieldOverhauser MRI techniques (SCAN 2/13/93).

Picker plans to market the system as a fully functional whole-bodyscanner that can be purchased for under $1 million. The systemcan also serve as a platform for advanced interventional MRI techniques,which Picker expects to become a growing niche, especially asimaging facilities look for ways to differentiate themselves whencompeting for patient referrals.

Picker is working on integrating Outlook with ViewPoint, thevendor's new image-guided surgery workstation (SCAN 11/9/94),as well as magnetic source imaging (MSI) devices such as Picker'sNeuromag-122. Picker intends to develop the capability for real-timefunctional imaging for surgical planning by integrating interventionalMRI and MSI data, according to Picker vice president Surya Mohapatra.

Picker expects to have a 510(k) application on file with theFood and Drug Administration for Outlook before the RSNA meeting.

Picker will also display its prowess in miniPACS by unveilingGalaxy, a work-in-progress multimodality image management anddistribution system. Galaxy will link Picker scanners and thoseof other vendors in a scalable DICOM 3.0-compatible network, Mohapatrasaid.

A key part of Galaxy is Montage, a new image viewing workstationdesigned to be a digital light box for clinicians. Montage runson a DEC Alpha platform and is available with two to six monitors.Montage can be networked with Picker's modality-specific imageprocessing workstations, including Voxel Q, ViStar XL and OdysseyVP.

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