Ten tips on how to get the most life out of your coils

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | September 28, 2015
From the September 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

MR coils are very fragile pieces of equipment, but with the proper handling and care you can get the most life out of them.
John Vartanian, director of business development at Oxford Instruments Healthcare, David Woodcock, MR product specialist at BC Technical, and LeRoy Blawat, president of Resonant Diagnostics LLC, shared a few tips with HealthCare Business News on how that can be done.

1. Handle with care
“The way that they are handled is the biggest issue out there,” says Vartanian. “They get dropped, the cords get twisted, they get pinched, or the plug port isn’t clear and they force the plug in, which causes damage. Another problem comes from contrast getting on the plug and/or port connectors.” A plug should never be forced into the port. “Instead of pulling it out and reinserting it straight, technicians and even service engineers wiggle it around, which can cause pins to be damaged,” says Woodcock. Once the connector on the coil or on the magnet is damaged, the other connectors and then other coils will start to experience problems. It must be removed to check for dirt, wiped off with an alcohol pad and then reinserted properly.

2. Stow the coils sitting flat when not in use
Coils will often be stored standing up against the wall, which doesn’t do damage in the short-term, but over time it may. If the cord is hanging down or draped over the side of a shelf, it pulls on the wires and pins. The coils should be stowed sitting flat with the cable or cables in a position that doesn’t put strain on them. They must also be stored with pads to further protect the outside surfaces, says Woodcock.

3. Have an assigned spot for your coil
The coils need to be stored in the right place, at the right time. Coils are more likely to be damaged in mobile sites because space is at a premium. If a coil is put at the end of a table or on a countertop, it may slide off and suffer damage. Sometimes a coil is put under a table and gets crushed when the table is lowered after the study. “It’s catastrophic because it crushes all of the fiberglass plastic molding,” says Vartanian. Coils should always be stored in an assigned cabinet to prevent those kinds of problems. “They are very fragile and technical and they need to be treated with care,” says Vartanian.

4. A temporary fix should only be temporary
If a coil case is broken or cracked, tape will work as a temporary fix, but it should never be a permanent solution. In most cases, the hard casing is meant to relieve strain on, or protect, circuit board runs, copper foil connections and solder joints/components. The tape is flexible so it allows components to move, and that can cause connection breaks or poor connections, which leads to degraded image quality and premature coil failure. Instead, it must be properly repaired as soon as possible by your service provider. “It causes a lot of problems if you don’t get things like that repaired,” says Woodcock. “A temporary fix should just be temporary.”

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