MRI imaging provides excellent soft-tissue delineation in different areas of interest. But the images are only as good as the coils and MRI equipment to create the images. That’s why it’s vital that image providers take care of coils and keep them working correctly. However, today’s coils are designed with more resonating elements in ergonomic housing, which can make servicing them even more challenging.
ScanMed CEO and President Randy Jones recently said, “This raises the bar for coil service companies to have the electronics engineering skills to decipher and diagnose these circuits and source their parts. They also must significantly broaden the scope of their capabilities to include plastics reconstruction, painting, foaming and coat processes, and then purchase large quantities of special MR cable material in order to replace those broken system cables.”
Coils are becoming more and more complicated and sophisticated, with more channels being added and an increase of flexible array options. That means it is much more difficult and challenging to service coils and makes it more important than ever to take good care of your coils.
New repair technology is emerging, such as 3-D printing, which can make repair or refurbishment easier, however the relationship between coil OEMs and third-party service organizations are becoming strained in the process. Jones said, “Understandably, they have standards and service considerations and prefer not to deal with third-party developers. However, the counter argument is that keeping a more open architecture will only boost their system utility and competitiveness. They can have both by putting the responsibility of safety, effectiveness and service on the third party, then let the free market decide what to purchase.”
OEMs have a right to be concerned about some third-party coil companies that claim they can provide these services. Jones said that without appropriate engineering knowledge, a commitment to standards and the ability to test and validate repair, many third-party coil repair companies actually put patients at risk.
Replacement Versus Repair?
According to many industry experts, most coils can be repaired. However, some repairs can be so costly that it’s smarter to replace them. If they can be repaired, however, it’s essential to find a repair provider that is skilled and capable of doing the work.
Proper Maintenance Can Reduce Repairs
At the end of the day, it’s better to take good care of your MRI coils on a regular basis. Here are some tips that can protect the life of your coils:
- Treat your coils with care. They are delicate pieces of machinery.
- Use only the recommended cleaning products.
- Clean the coils on a regular schedule.
- Make sure your staff knows how to correctly handle the coils. They should never be grabbed or pulled from the cable.
- Talk to your patients and make sure they understand the sophistication of the coils and to treat them gently.
- Store your coils in a convenient location, like a holder or cart so they are easy to access.
- Don’t stack heavy coils on top of smaller ones.
- Repair small problems so they don’t’ become big ones.
- Tell MR techs to slow down so they won’t inadvertently try to force a connector in the wrong receptacle.
- If you have to ship a coil for repair, package it correctly so it’s not further damaged in transit.
- Select a reputable third party or OEM for repairs.
You can also turn to the experts at Atlantis Worldwide for guidance and advice. If you’re looking for a new medical imaging device for your practice, hospital or clinic, used or refurbished imaging equipment could provide you with exactly what you need at much lower costs—plus extensive warranties. Contact Us Today!
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- MRI Infographic: Closed Bore, Open MRI & Wide Bore
- Confused About MRI Coils?
- 7 Benefits of Medical Imaging File Sharing
- 3D Printing in Medical Imaging & Healthcare
Meet the author: Vikki Harmonay