Magnetic Resonance Imaging at 3.0 Tesla: Challenges and Advantages in Clinical Neurological Imaging


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Abstract

MR imaging at very high field (3.0 T) is a significant new clinical tool in the modern neuroradiological armamentarium. In this report, we summarize our 40-month experience in performing clinical neuroradiological examinations at 3.0 T and review the relevant technical issues. We report on these issues and, where appropriate, their solutions. Issues examined include: increased SNR, larger chemical shifts, additional problems associated with installation of these scanners, challenges in designing and obtaining appropriate clinical imaging coils, greater acoustic noise, increased power deposition, changes in relaxation rates and susceptibility effects, and issues surrounding the safety and compatibility of implanted devices. Some of the these technical factors are advantageous (eg, increased signal-to-noise ratio), some are detrimental (eg, installation, coil design and development, acoustic noise, power deposition, device compatibility, and safety), and a few have both benefits and disadvantages (eg, changes in relaxation, chemical shift, and susceptibility). Fortunately solutions have been developed or are currently under development, by us and by others, for nearly all of these challenges. A short series of 1.5 T and 3.0 T patient images are also presented to illustrate the potential diagnostic benefits of scanning at higher field strengths. In summary, by paying appropriate attention to the discussed technical issues, high-quality neuro-imaging of patients is possible at 3.0 T.

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