by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | July 07, 2021
The FDA has given Siemens Healthineers the green light for its MAGNETOM Free.Max MR system.
The High-V, compact whole-body scanner combines a 0.55 Tesla field strength with deep learning capabilities and advanced image processing. It weighs less than 3.5 tons, uses less than one liter of helium, and requires no quench pipe. This reduces life cycle and infrastructure costs and allows it to be placed in areas where MR has not been able to be used in before.
“By being brought into new places where MR perhaps hasn’t been before and where strong experience levels of staff don’t necessarily exist, this system is ideal in enabling less experienced technologists or even other healthcare professionals that aren’t technologists to be able to operate an MR system in an easy and efficient manner,” Kelly Parker, MR product manager for Siemens Healthineers North America, told HCB News.
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Less than 80 inches high, MAGNETOM Free.Max is the most lightweight, compact whole-body scanner designed by Siemens. Its reduced size enables it to be installed with minimal structural modifications. The solution also is the first and only 80 cm wide-bore system available, and can scan extremely obese and claustrophobic patients for an enhanced patient experience.
Among its image processing and AI workflow tools is Siemens’ Deep Resolve, a set of algorithms that performs targeted denoising and sharpens images for higher-resolution with deep learning. It also is equipped with myExam Companion, which incorporates elements of AI to guide users of all experience levels during exams to achieve consistent, high-quality results, regardless of patient or throughput.
"When we talk to some of our big academic partners out there, they see it as one of the systems that could offer availability or access for certain patients that they can’t provide services to today," said Wes Gilson, senior director of MR business development for Siemens Healthineers North America. "For smaller hospitals, they want something that’s going to be a workhorse for certain services at a point where they can deliver the imaging that’s needed for their customers, but also something where they can take advantage of the sizability advantages of the system with regard to its small footprint."
The clearance comes less than two months after the launch of Siemens' Somatom X.ceed
, its fastest, single-source CT scanner, which simplifies procedures in the most challenging clinical areas, where time and precision are critical, including cardiac and emergency imaging and CT-guided interventions. The system is still FDA 510(k) pending.
The solution is expected to increase MR utilization in orthopedic centers, emergency rooms, outpatient centers, and even intensive care units. It is also expected to be popular among radiology groups, physician groups, retail healthcare providers, as well as in both urban and rural areas.