Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be needed to monitor diseases and check for abnormalities within a patient, but it is not always the most personalized experience. The room that the scan takes place in may be stark with white walls and little decoration and sparsely furnished. It makes sense that this might be the case because of the risk due to the strong magnetic field and its pull. The traditional coils used are typically one size fits all with rigid structures and the scanner may be extremely loud. However, it doesn't have to be that way. Patients may appreciate coils that aren't as rigid, which can fit a variety of patients without being too restrictive. They may also prefer a quieter scan, one without loud thumping. That's why manufacturers have begun to move toward more personalized MR suites to elevate radiology.
A more durable, personalized coil
Traditional coils are white, rigid structures that are placed near the patient's body to intensify the signal emitted throughout the scan.1 This may be uncomfortable for patients who are larger or smaller than the average person. Children may be imaged with these coils, and radiologists may see that the signal intensity isn't high enough because of the gap between the coil and the patient. Adults who are taller or bigger may experience issues with the coil fitting their body, and the coil may be restrictive due to this. However, innovative technology has allowed for a more personalized coil. These new coils are durable as well as flexible and can be shaped to match the patient's body without additional discomfort. Because of the durability and versatility, these coils can be used to wrap around the patient and may stay in place with positioners. This allows the radiographer to position the patient how they want or need, while increasing the signal intensity produced during the scan. Patients may be more comfortable and feel like the scan is more personal as the technology adapts specifically to them.
A quieter way to scan
MRI has traditionally been often extremely loud. This may be one of the most agreed upon facts throughout radiology. The noise created during an MR scan may affect the brain waves of patients, especially in functional MRI.2 Because of this, researchers have been working toward creating sequences that don't make as much sound. Likewise, engineers are working toward creating quieter machines. The noise may often be caused by the coil inside the machine and the coils next to the patient's body vibrating rapidly in response to the changing magnetic field. Advanced image reconstruction and trajectory techniques shorten a brain scan, so it only takes seconds to acquire, reducing the noise of the scan. This sequence may be quiet enough that it is barely louder than the background noise of the scanner. This allows the researchers to be sure that the structures are as accurate as possible. This could alter the way functional MRI of the brain and other areas is done once it hits the clinical stage.
Lighter, more flexible and durable coils as well as quieter MR sequences and scanners may expedite the imaging process and make the experience more personal. Patients may be more comfortable due to this, and, thus, more calm throughout the scan. Overall, radiology departments may find that a gradual shift toward this personalized technology can help with their workflow throughout the day.
For more information about durable, lightweight coils, please read SIGNA Pulse "A lighter, more flexible and comfortable way to scan."
For more information about quiet scanning, please read SIGNA Pulse "The sound of silence."
1. Utaroh Motosugi. "A lighter, more flexible and comfortable way to scan." SIGNA Pulse. Autumn 2018. Web. 12 April 2019. <http://www.gesignapulse.com/signapulse/autumn_2018/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=18#pg18>.
2. Peder Larson. "The sound of silence." SIGNA Pulse. Autumn 2018. Web. 12 April 2019. <http://www.gesignapulse.com/signapulse/autumn_2018/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=68#pg68>.