s01.jpg (7898 bytes)MRI: Where Bigger Is Better and Open Gains Power
The general trend in technology maybe be to miniaturize, but in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the bigger the tesla, the better. If a manufacturer combines high-field MRI with an open design, chances are the market will jump on the bandwagon.

James V. Beckett, vice president of Philips’ CT/MR business, sees the market for the 0.5T scanner “shrinking quite rapidly in North America.

“The 0.5T went from hundreds of units in the late 1980s to single digits now,” he continues. “The 0.5T market was eroded from two ends: One was from low-field open [MRI] and the other was from more affordable higher field strength units.”

The 1.5T market, Beckett says, is “extremely healthy.”

While the mid-range MRI systems are gaining ground in the market, the advent of high-field MRI technology in the 3.0 tesla range is making in-roads in clinical applications. In the past, field strengths of that magnitude generally were relegated to research applications.

Philips Medical Systems North America (Bothell, Wash.) showcased at RSNA an expanded line of MRI systems as a result of its internal growth and recent acquisitions.

The Intera MR, Philips’ existing line, added the new 3.0T high-field system to its 0.5T, 1.0T and 1.5T lineup. Shown as a works-in-progress at RSNA 2000 with FDA clearance for head work only, the 3.0T Intera has evolved to handle whole-body imaging and includes Philips’ new SENSE (sensitivity encoding) technique for fast MR image acquisition. Having shown its capabilities in neurology, angiography and spectroscopy, the 3.0T is testing in cardiac and cardiovascular imaging. FDA approval for whole-body imaging function is pending.

Please refer to the January 2002 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis