Almost everyone encourages patients to become educated healthcare consumers. When the doctor orders an MRI, it can be confusing for the patient if he or she doesn’t know much about MRI equipment.
In fact, most people don’t ask “What machine is best?” or “What’s a 1.5T?”
With that in mind, this post is to provide a fast overview of how MRI equipment works.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Decades ago, many people knew them as “magnetic resonance imaging” machines. That’s a mouthful.
To shorten things up, we say “MRI.” To simplify the workings of the MRI, think about a very strong and large magnet. The patient relaxes within the magnet, and radio waves bounce from the patient’s body. The MRI receives the waves back.
These return signals are then transcribed into computer images by the scanner in a very short time.
MRI Scanner Strength and Size
MRI scanners come in a variety of different “strengths” that are measured in “teslas.” Again, to keep it simple, it’s measured in “T,” typically between 0.5 and 3.0. MRIs come in a variety of sizes, too, from open to wide-bore.
As you can probably guess, a 3T wide open MRI is the latest, most powerful strength and size. A 3T machine sends more signals than an older 1.5T model.
The reason everyone should care about this fact is that 3T imaging is clear, crisp, and vivid. A 3T machine adds great value to the patient because, after submitting to the MRI, the radiologist and physician have more detailed information. In addition, the 3T machine does the work faster, so that patient spends less time in the MRI.
3T machines are also ideal for capturing high resolution images of small bones, vascular, breast, neurological, or musculoskeletal tissues.
Gold Standard MRI Technology
As you can see, a 3T is the gold standard of MRI technology. It’s certainly in a different league than earlier MRI technology versions. The benefits of the 3T accrue to the patient because the machine works faster and better for most imaging tasks.
Physicians want more information to make an accurate diagnosis. A faster MRI appointment is always a better appointment for the patient.