The 3T MRI is a powerful and versatile imaging tool that gives radiologists a level of detail that is not available with other MRIs.
The T stands for Tesla, which is a measurement of magnetic field strength. Considering that the earth's magnetic field is .5 Gauss, and one Tesla equals 10,000 Gauss, it's clear that the 3T MRI contains a very powerful magnet.
With this technology, images can be obtained quickly to enhance patient comfort and enable more patients to be screened in a given time period. The larger opening of this unit provides access to patients of all shapes and sizes and reduces the feeling of claustrophobia that some patients may experience in this setting.
The high-resolution MRI is particularly useful for looking at conditions involving cartilage, muscle and bone such as in orthopedic and spinal injuries. In addition, fine details of blood vessels can be seen, without the use of dye injections, to provide critical information for the treating physician when diagnosing disorders of the brain and neck.
The resolution is so exquisite that fluid outlining the turns of a 4-millimeter, snail-shaped bone in the inner ear, called the cochlea, can be clearly seen. Tumors and active lesions of multiple sclerosis also are more easily detected, and prostate cancer can be more accurately staged without the use of an uncomfortable endorectal coil.
Images from multiple scans can be reconstructed to create a 3D view, allowing physicians to truly peer into the body prior to a procedure and plan the best surgical approach.
In some cases, surgical exploration can be avoided altogether. For example, viewing the exact location and size of uterine fibroids with the 3T MRI allows the surgeon to determine whether uterine fibroid embolization would be an appropriate treatment option rather than hysterectomy.
The 3T MRI enables clinicians to provide better care with faster scanning times and superior views of anatomic details to gain more information from magnetic resonance imaging than ever before. When you are being scheduled for diagnostic imaging, ask your physician if 3T MRI is appropriate for your condition.
Esaa is a radiologist at Susquehanna Health.