New coils could improve body magnetic resonance imaging

The coils that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) department uses can have a number of different effects on the imaging exam being performed. In many cases, a patient cannot be comfortable while more rigid coils are being used. Because of this, coil manufacturers have begun to focus on creating more flexible and durable ones. These coils may be used for more scans than their predecessors, because they can be positioned around different areas of the body.

At the Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital in Madrid Spain, the radiology team has seen an improvement since upgrading to these newer coils.1 Dr. Vicente Martinez de Vega, who is Chief of the Diagnostic Imaging Department, has seen a more-than-expected improvement in coverage, scanning speed and resolution. Meanwhile, Dr. Manuel RecÍo Rodriguez, the Associate Chief of the Diagnostic Imaging Department, has noticed that the facility's new coils have increased signal penetration for fetal imaging and high-quality in images all around.

Abdominal imaging that exceeds expectations

When Dr. Martinez de Vega conducted abdominal imaging exams on patients after the new coil technology had arrived, he noticed that there were improvements in the imaging that exceeded the facility's expectations.1 The new coils improved coverage, scanning speed and signal homogeneity, as well as provided high spatial resolution. This can be especially useful when the imaging exam requires a short acquisition time and homogeneous fat suppression. In one case, Dr. Martinez de Vega found a thickening of the terminal ileum in a short segment, which may be consistent with Crohn's disease.1

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Fetal imaging with flexible, durable coils

The standard practice for imaging pregnant women and their fetuses involves ultrasonography. When there is a suspected abnormality on the ultrasound, a higher than normal risk of neurodevelopmental disorders or a condition in the pregnancy that may affect the fetal brain, the physician may order additional imaging tests, including MRI.2 MRI does not involve ionizing radiation. Due to recent technological advances, fetal MRI may be a safe and efficient way to image the fetus, especially the fetal brain.2 In some cases, fetal MRI of the brain may detect abnormalities in the fetal brain that are not visible on prenatal ultrasound.2

Dr. Rodriguez states that combined with the current techniques for fetal brain imaging, the new coils may improve the scan further. He has observed good signal penetration for fetal imaging due to the coils, which may enable him to obtain high-quality images of the fetal brain.1 Another shift that has occurred with these new devices is toward shorter acquisition times while the facility is using T2-weighted and diffusion-weighted imaging sequences.1

The type of coil that a technologist is using can greatly affect the images produced during an MRI scan. New, innovative coils, like those obtained by the Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital, may be a step toward improved coverage and positioning, as well as scanning speed and spatial resolution.1 Dr. Martinez de Vega and Dr. Rodriguez have seen such a change in their everyday scanning practices.



  1. Body imaging with AIR Technology Anterior Array and Posterior Array. SIGNA Pulse of MR Last accessed October 9, 2019.
  2. Fetal MRI. Last accessed October 9, 2019.
  3. Use of MRI in the diagnosis of fetal brain abnormalities in utero (MERIDIAN): a multicentre, prospective cohort study. thelancet.com Last accessed October 9, 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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