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3T MRI vs 1.5T MRI - Do You Know the Difference? 

Posted by Vikki Harmonay on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 @ 12:10 PM

Even when you work in the world of radiology it can be difficult at times to understand the differences between various models of 1.5T_vs_3T_MRI-1imaging equipment. And when your job is buying, selling or requesting service or maintenance for an MRI, CT, Digital X-ray, C-Arm or PET/CT – those small differences become very important.

Taking it from the beginning

During Magnetic Resonance Imaging a very large, strong magnet is used to create a radio wave that is directed at a patient inside the machine. Those radio waves are used to send signals to the body and receive them back. The returning signals are converted into images by a computer attached to the MRI scanner.  MRI scanners come in different magnet field strengths measured in Teslas or “T”, usually between 0.5T and 3.0T. They also come in varying sizes including, open and wide-bore.

3T MRI and 1.5T MRI

It only takes basic math skills to figure out that a 3T MRI scanner has a field strength that is twice as powerful as a 1.5T MRI, but what does that really mean for an imaging professional? When you’re paying almost double for 3T, you should know what that means.

Across the United States and most of the world, 1.5T short-bore MRI remains the standard technology for MRI scanners. A 1.5T machine is faster than lower strength MRIs and is ideal for abdomens and chest MRIs. A 1.5T magnet creates more signal than a 1.2T magnet and there are a variety of options for what can be done with that extra signal.  You can use it to run shorter scan times, reduce possible motion distortion and create higher quality images.

Because the image quality of an MRI depends on signal and field strength, having double the signal strength allows a 3T MRI to provide extremely clear and vivid images. Additionally they can often be done faster, decreasing overall scan time. Both are of great value to the patient in terms of diagnosis and comfort.

3T is ideal for imaging small bones, breast MRI, musculoskeletal MRI, neurological MRI and vascular MRI, where the minute details are especially crucial to diagnosis. With that said, a 3T machine isn’t always the best for every kind of imaging. 3T has a higher likely hood of artifacts. An artifact is any object that appears in the image that is not in the original object. These can show up in MRI images as “flow” artifacts due to the movement of blood or fluid. A 3T machine also creates additional heat and more noise compared to a 1.5T, which can also be a challenge in some offices.

Keeping it simple

If you’re in a position to choose between a 3T MRI and a 1.5T MRI – congratulations because you really can’t go wrong. The factors you must consider are cost, time and primary usage. 1.5T systems are readily available and replacement parts and service engineers around to keep your investment running. 1.5T MRI are excellent MRI machines that produce quality-imaging results. However, if your work needs to be more precise, brain scans for instance, or if you have a high volume of patients and speed is important, then the image clarity and potential time saving nature of a 3T system could be worth investing in. However the price tag could be close to twice that of a 1.5T system, in addition maintenance and repair also cost more.

If you have any questions about 1.2T, 1.5T, 3T MRI or any other refurbished medical imaging equipment, the experts at Atlantis Worldwide can not only answer your questions but also help connect you with the highest quality pre-owned and warrantied equipment on the planet.  Contact us today!

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 About the author: Vikki Harmonay

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Topics: MRI, Medical Imaging Comparisons