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MRI Technology

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?”

Say what?

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. Continue reading