by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | November 19, 2020
Siemens Healthineers introduced Magnetom Free.Max, its smallest and most lightweight whole-body MR scanner, in a press conference on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t need a quench pipe. It doesn’t consume helium. It only has 0.7 liters of helium on board. That means for siting an installation requirement there is no big difference anymore from something like a CT,” said André Hartung, global head of diagnostic imaging.
The scanner, which is currently under development and not commercially available, has a field strength of 0.55 tesla for addressing a range of clinical applications, including pulmonary imaging. Promising results have already been seen with more than 70 lung patients in clinical routine, according to Siemens.
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The system weighs three metric tons and is just below two meters in transportation height, enabling it to be installed in locations where MR could not be placed before. With an 80 cm bore, it would be the biggest whole-body MR bore system.
“I see great benefit in, for example, bringing MR directly to the intensive care unit, as patient transport of critically ill patients to the central radiology department today is risky and cumbersome,” said professor Elmar Merkle of the University Hospital Basel, where the first Magnetom Free.Max is located, in a statement. “In addition, I believe MR can significantly improve patient care directly at the front line of diagnostics, in outpatient centers or even the emergency room, and could be implemented in spoke locations where today only CT or X-ray systems are available.”
The scanner also comes with an AI-based user guidance system that can automate routine exams to eliminate repetitive tasks and allow novice technologists to operate the MR more easily. Meanwhile, experienced users can fully configure the scanner for more complex scanning requirements.