News | Jan 5, 2022

Advantages of the United Imaging MR systems in practice

Advantages of the United Imaging MR systems in practice

Adam Dąbrowski
Senior Application Specialist MR/DR, United Imaging Healthcare Poland, tel. +48 532 404 048

 

Recently we have been witnessing significant progress in nearly every aspect of our lives. It is best visible in medicine, and particularly in imaging diagnostics. It is estimated that almost 80% of diseases are diagnosed or confirmed based on imaging examinations. The scope of imaging diagnostics is extending and it is used also to assess therapeutic outcomes. The procedures allow physicians to evaluate faster whether their selected treatment strategy is the right one and effective in a given patient. In order to perform complete diagnostics of a disease, the doctors have a number of tools at their disposal. They include radiography, computed tomography, ultrasonography, magnetic resonance and state-of-the-art hybrid modalities combing different imaging methods, eg. PET/CT (a combination of PET and CT scanning) or PET/MRI (a combination of PET and MRI). The modality that deserves particular attention is magnetic resonance imaging. It is one of the more precise methods of soft tissue imaging that is less invasive compared to computed tomography.

Polish market is dominated primarily by high-field MRI scanners (1.5T and 3T). United Imaging, which has operated on the European market for a few years now, offers a portfolio of both the 1.5 Tesla and 3 Tesla MRI scanners. At the moment a few of these scanners, predominantly with a 1.5 Tesla field strength, are in use in Poland. Namely, the uMR 560, uMR 570 and uMR 588, as well as one uMR 780 scanner with a 3T magnet. All MR solutions feature a complete set of coils and clinical applications which enable MR examination of any anatomic area. In this article I am trying to present the use of MRI systems in clinical practice and provide more information on the United Imaging MR products portfolio.

Most of our scanners have a 60 cm or 70 cm (1.5 T machines) and 65 cm diameter gantry (3T scanners). In response to the needs of the evolving market, United Imaging developed a unique uMR OMEGA system for magnetic resonance imaging, with a focus on overweight or obese patients. This substantially impacts the patient’s comfort. It also improves the comfort of any patients affected by claustrophobia. The greater bore size enables a higher table load capacity, which is over 300 kg for the Omega scanner.

Operators finishing their shift often complained that they were worn out. That is the reason why they appreciate the lightweight design of our coils. One coil deserving particular attention is our Foot & Ankle Coil. It is high and ensures coverage of the whole foot and ankle without any significant difficulty. No fixed element needs to placed on the dorsal side, but only the soft coil components. These features make the examination tolerable, pleasant and suitable for patients wearing a cast shoe. Another noteworthy solution is the coil for MR imaging of the temporomaxillary joints. It is designed to resemble headphones and due to the fact it tightly fits the examined anatomical part, it delivers a more precise image of the joint and, more importantly, ensures access to the patient. The coil design allows opening and closing of the mouth without any head movement, which is important for the comparison of images acquired with the mouth open and closed. It is also worth mentioning the loop coil used for examining small anatomical parts such as fingers. Its main feature is that it allows the physician to cover small areas without a significant loss of image quality. Another important area of examination is the breast. Our scanners for spine imaging have a removable coil, which allows the operator to create more space for the patient, thus improving her comfort and placing the examined object itself closer to the magnetic isocentre. Apart from the coils described above, United Imaging offers solutions for imaging of the head, spine, breast, abdominal cavity, extremities and the heart. We are able to adapt any coil to the individual needs of our clients. Multiple high-density coils may be used in various combinations to reduce the examination time and enhance performance. However, the most important feature of our scanners is the number of channels, namely, 24 or 48, depending on client needs, which is clearly reflected in the examination process. The optimal configuration of 24 (or 48 for the more powerful version) independent RF channels plus 24 perfectly matched coil channels ensures zero loss in data transmission.


Fig. 1 Ankle coil, temporomaxillary joint coil, breast coil
Source: Own materials of United Imaging

 

The next element crucial to the scanner operator is obviously the console and the applications it features. Users appreciate our control unit for its ease of use and intuitive design. Right after turning on the scanner, the operator quickly understands how to use the software. The layout of basic sequence parameters is optimal, eliminating the need to tap different tabs. In addition, in contrast to other scanners, the sequences themselves are not very complex. The FAST and uCS features enable quicker acquisition of images without significant loss of image quality, which greatly improves the user experience and improves patient comfort. For instance, plain MRI of the head performed without contrast enhancement in T23D, T13D i FLAIR3d sequences takes approximately 10 minutes while providing complete examination results for this body part. If we add the sequences for the ears (T2_FATSAT_3D) to visualise auditory nerves, the scanning will take around 14 minutes. There is also the option to perform MR angiography (TOF and MALF sequences) with and without contrast. The contrast-enhanced MRA, mainly of the head, abdomen and lower extremities (we also have a 24-channel coil for the MRA of lower extremities) lasts less than 3 minutes, not including patient positioning time.

 

Fig. 2 MRA with contrast; sequences generate more detailed images as a result of observation of opacification of the aorta and manual bolus tracking initiation. Bottom: TOF MRA and PC MRV sequences without the need for contrast media
Source: Own materials of United Imaging.

 

Fig. 3 Head MRA, TOF MRA and PC MRV
Source: Own materials of United Imaging.

 

Clearly, all United Imaging scanners are able to perform specialised examinations such as tractography or spectroscopy and is accompanied by software for examination results analysis. For abdominal cavity examinations the scanner offers features of patient respiratory monitoring: navi (diaphragm), trigger (following placement of a wireless respiratory sensor on the patient) and breath hold (for apnea typically lasting 12–17 seconds).

 

Fig. 4 T2 FSE and T2 STIR sequences for the entire spine are automatically combined thanks to the stitching feature
Source: Own materials of United Imaging.

 


Depending on patient condition the scanner is able to perform the examination in 35 minutes (i.e. T2 TRIC COR/TRA; T2 FATSAT TRIG COR/ TRA; DWI B VOL 50-1000; UAL; T1 3D TRA; T1 FATSAT 3D TRA before and after contrast administration, and with the dynamic phase and, depending on the diagnosis, T1 FS TRA after the delayed phase). However, as every patient is different, in individual cases the same examination protocol may last much longer.

Fig. 5 Examples of tractography images used mainly for neurological applications.
Source: Own materials of United Imaging.


It is particularly important that the patient comfort control panel is not hidden deep in the options tab but easily available for the operator to control the light, ventilation, music volume both from the console and the gantry level. Operators appreciate our scanners and believe that they a breath of innovation which is worth recommending. Radiologists, in turn, praise the image quality and the advancement of our systems. Our workstations receive only highly positive opinions. Their most appreciated advantages are intuitiveness and ease of use. Basic measurement tools are easily available, analytic software does not require much input and is very autonomous, which speeds up the work considerably.
I hope I have managed to provide information on the benefits of using our systems in everyday practice. For more information, visit our website: www.united-imaging.eu. I strongly recommend testing our MRI systems. Do not hesitate to contact me for more information.

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