Most people will agree that the word “fun” doesn’t pop into their head when finding out they need to have an MRI scan. The majority of patients will be concerned with both their comfort during the scan and correctly diagnosing the injury. Some patients will think that the open style of a machine will leave them more at ease. However, the true source of a better experience is the core of the machine, the magnet. At Shields, we provide both with our 1.5T and 3T wide, open bore MRI machines.
Let’s talk about quality. 1.5T is the gold standard for a MRI in a clinical setting. 1.5 indicates the field-strength of the magnet used to obtain the images – the higher the field-strength, the more clear or detailed the images. A radiologist is looking to obtain the highest level of clarity for the most accurate diagnosis. Think of a spine injury. Let’s use, for example, a bulging disk. An MRI will show the anatomy of the vertebrae as well as the disks, spinal cord and the spaces between the vertebrae through which nerves pass. With such a complex image, your doctor will want the most clear, distinct picture so they can accurately assess the injury and make the proper diagnosis for treatment. The strength of the magnet is extremely important to achieve this clarity. Shields MRI only offers 1.5T or 3T magnet strength at all of our locations.
A true open MRI machine (one that is open on three sides) always has a tesla that is lower than 1.5. When patients sacrifice magnet power for a more open machine they actually can put themselves in a less comfortable situation than if chose a machine with a higher tesla power.
Lower strength means a less detailed image. The physician will have a harder time diagnosing the problem if he or she is looking at a low-quality image. These scans often take longer making the patient more susceptible to movement resulting in reduced image quality. This may lead to a longer wait time for the physician to read the scan or even to a misdiagnoses. Also, there is a possibility that the entire scan needs to be redone.
By choosing a higher tesla such a 1.5T or 3T, the scan will be one and a half to two times faster ensuring patient comfort and saving them time. The advanced image quality can pick up on the smallest details providing top-notch diagnoses. At Shields MRI our wide, open bore has a 70cm diameter compared to traditional MRI machines, reducing anxiety and creating a comfortable atmosphere.
1.5T and 3T machines provide an excellent MRI experience because of the added benefits of a powerful magnet. Shields is committed to providing advanced technology while ensuring every patient has a first-class experience all at an affordable price.
As some say, seeing is believing. Check out the images below which compares a low strength, open machine to a 1.5T, high-field machine. The difference in quality from one scan to another speaks for itself.
MRI of the Knee: High-field 1.5T MRI on the left; low-field, open on the right.
MRI of the Brain: High-field 1.5T MRI on the left; low-field, open on the right.
MRI of the Shoulder: High-field 1.5T MRI on the left; low-field, open on the right.