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Don't get unraveled by damaged coils

by Carol Ko, Staff Writer | October 01, 2013
From the October 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

As MRI coil technology continues to get more sophisticated and improve in image quality, users should be mindful that this also means more things can go wrong.

But which kinds of coils fail the most? According to our experts, flexible coils tend to need more frequent repair. These coils are often used in non-standard ways—a body array coil being used for the knee, for example.

Eventually, as these coils are repeatedly used to image body parts they weren’t designed for, it creates failure points within the coil. “That leaves it open to sustain more damage over time,” says Wes Solmos, account representative at Creative Foam Medical Systems.

“To minimize damage, all flexible coils should be kept in a flat position when not used for scans,” advises Kimberly Wilridge, coil repair supervisor at MagnaServ Enterprises Inc. Over time, bending and flexing can damage the internal circuitry, leading to a more involved repair job and higher repair fees.

One of the most common causes of MRI coil damage is broken connectors, according to Randy Cox, director of MRI Technical Services. “Use care when connecting the coil to the table or magnet interface,” he says. Constant forceful pulling and pushing to fit the coil with the connector eventually breaks the cables. Users should also keep in mind that broken MRI coil connections are also an extra headache: they typically can’t be repaired on-site.

Wear and tear — especially dropping — is another major cause of coil damage. “We see a lot of mechanical issues, cracks, breaks. These coils get dropped frequently,” says Solmos. A little care and caution when handling can go a long way, he says.

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