by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | November 19, 2014
From the October 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Born at the stroke of midnight in the middle of a thunderstorm,
the eccentric Nikola Tesla embodied the archetypical “mad scientist” more thoroughly than perhaps anyone else in modern history. To imagine him alone in his laboratory playing obsessively with fiery bolts of electricity is to conjure images of Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein.
It was in Tesla’s honor that the measurement unit for magnetic field strength was named after him in 1960. A typical refrigerator magnet, for example, is 5 millitesla. In 2000, a group of physicists from the Netherlands were awarded the Nobel Prize for levitating a frog with 16 Tesla. More practically, anyone familiar with MR knows that today’s market is smattered with 1.5 Tesla offerings, while higher end 3 Tesla magnets are paving the way for the future of MR scanners.
Siemens Healthcare is currently offering a 3T, 128 channel, 80/200 gradient coil scanner called MAGNETOM Prisma. Titan 3T is a high field, state of the art, wide bore MR scanner from Toshiba Healthcare. It allows large field body imaging without dialectic shading and also off-center imaging which provides improved homogeneity for imaging large fields. GE Healthcare has the Discovery MR750w 3T, and Philips Healthcare has the 3T Ingenia.
For those who need to move fast and expand clinical capabilities -- and would love new equipment -- the uCT 550 Advance offers a new fully configured 80-slice CT in up to 2 weeks with routine maintenance and parts and Software Upgrades for Life™ included.
However, just because groundbreaking technology exists doesn’t mean it is reaching patients. A recent report suggests one in five MR scanners in Europe is over ten years old. State-side, CMS reimbursement continues to incur cuts, making certain MR procedures less desirable for clinicians. Getting the latest MR technology into care centers is just one issue out of many.
Breakthroughs are happening in other fields of MR too. New ways of watching how the brain reacts to stimulants, elaborate medical theaters allowing for surgery to take place alongside MR, and new cold heads are emerging that reduce helium boil off within the system.
Coils are changing, too. ScanMed, a coil manufacturer and repair company, has just introduced a one of a kind, wearable prostate coil. The diaper-like coil is called Procure, which is an acronym for prostate, rectum, ovaries, cervix, uterine, and reproductive organs—all of which can be imaged with the coil.
What would Nikola Tesla think of all this?
Intraoperative MR: seeing when it matters most
The naked eye cannot always distinguish healthy brain tissue from the lesions that needs to be surgically removed. For decades, MR has been useful in addressing this problem, but only recently have physicians started to verify the success of their work before suturing their incisions. Therein lies the essential benefit of intraoperative MR imaging, (iMRI) and new ground is being broken to make it more accessible.