Importance of the head coil and MR neuro-imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used for neurological imaging of abnormalities. Neuro-imaging is conducted to provide details about the brain and its tissue structures to neurologists. MRI may help with detecting abnormalities and monitoring the development of various diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and dementia. In order to do this, the department and facility may want to evaluate the benefits of different coil types.

The new head coil

The radiology team at the RNR Institute of Radiology and Neuroradiology Glattzentrum in Wallisellen, Switzerland, recently purchased a new head coil for their 3.0 T MR system. Their new coil is a 48 channel head coil, which the team says shows significantly higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for routine neurological acquisition compared to the conventional Head Neck Unit (HNU) coil.

The new head coil uses a more adaptable, more durable design. Because of the use of this design element, Brigitte Trudel, RT(R)(MR), of the RNR Institute of Radiology and Neuroradiology Glattzentrum and her team have observed a more homogeneous signal distribution over the whole field of view (FOV) without signal drop in the center of the brain.1 The team can also easily scan the brain and cervical spine for multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as perform carotid MR angiography (MRA) studies with the coverage of the coil in the z-direction.1

The design is more adaptable than past generations of coils and allow for an additional 3 cm expansion.1 This expansion can provide a means to gain more room for large-sized heads and necks. Those 3 cm may reduce the patient's feeling of being confined and avoid having the patient's nose come in contact with the front of the coil.

Finally, the team may be able to combine the higher SNR with certain acceleration techniques in order to decrease the total exam times. The facility found that they could decrease scan times by 25% with acceleration while maintaining or increasing both the image quality and spatial resolution.

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Improved comfort

The head coil is also compatible with the comfort tilt device, which can be especially important scanning elderly patients with kyphosis. Kyphosis is a disorder of the spine in which the patient has an excessive outward curve of the spine, which may be called hunchback. The comfort tilt device combined with the new coil may help patients lie comfortably on the table.

Ultimately, these two devices may reduce patient motion due to discomfort, which may be important when imaging patients with dementia. When scanning patients with dementia, the MR protocols require that there is no movement during the imaging.

The RNR Institute of Radiology and Neuroradiology Glattzentrum has noticed changes in neurological imaging studies with the use of the new head coil. The coil may help to increase the SNR and patient comfort, as well as aiding homogeneity in the signal. Dr. Krisztina Baráth, Brigitte Trudel and their team believe that the head coil further extends clinical benefits of powerful 3.0 T MR system.



  1. Neuro imaging with 48-channel Head Coil. SIGNA Pulse of MR. Last accessed October 29, 2019.


The AIR™ family of flexible RF Coils was awarded Best New Radiology Device for the 2019 edition of the Minnies,'s campaign to recognize the best and brightest in medical imaging. The Minnies have been recognizing excellence in radiology for the past 20 years, with categories ranging from Most Influential Radiology Researcher to Best New Radiology Device. Minnies awards are made based on nominations from members, with winners selected through two rounds of voting by a panel of radiology luminaries and editors.

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