At 3T, the clinical utility of MRI expands dramatically; when it is paired with total imaging matrix (Tim) technology from Siemens Medical Solutions, Malvern, Pa, the results are a better signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), the suppression of artifacts, and more rapid scanning. These increase patient throughput and make it possible to scan more case types.

In difficult areas of imaging, the most rewarding improvements are seen at 3T. Neuroradiology includes some notoriously challenging procedures, often for life-threatening conditions. It has been a relief for neuroradiologists to see the expansion of 3T MRI into these arenas.

As Meng Law, MD, explains, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the cervical spinal cord with Tim can help the neuroradiologist differentiate between multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal-canal stenosis and can track MS progression. In spondylosis, DTI can separate edema from gliosis. DTI also may be useful in spinal-cord trauma, masses, and vascular lesions, as well as in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Neeraj B. Chepuri, MD, reports on a case in which 3T MRI prevented a patient from losing language capabilities. The patient needed to have a large capillary hemangioblastoma removed from the brain. Using 3T functional MRI (fMRI), the surgeon was able to plan an approach that avoided the Wernicke language-processing area; 3 days after surgery, the patient had regained full language abilities.