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3T or not 3T: That is the Question?

September 5, 2008
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I recently had a discussion regarding the differences between 1.5T and 3T MRI systems. Of course there are obvious differences such as; cost, magnet strength and core qualities but where is the value add and benefits in implementing a 3T MRI verses a high end 1.5T MRI? This discussion sparked questions about exam workflow, image quality and scanning speed among others. The discussion went on for a half hour and we all agreed that researching the benefits of the 3T MRI systems and their applications would be the only way to answer our questions…

I began researching that night on the internet and continued the next day by calling a few MRI Technologists and MRI vendors. Below are a few differences / benefits I was able to identify;

1.5T MRI Systems

3T MRI Systems

Lower Magnetic Field Strength

Twice the Magnetic Field Strength

Lower Signal to Noise Ratio – Less Sensitive

Higher Signal to Noise Ration – More Sensitive

Lower Image Contrast in soft tissue

Higher Image Contrast in soft tissue

Motion artifacts more severe

Image inhomogeneity was more prominent

Longer scanning times

Shorter scanning times

Overall lower image quality

Overall higher image quality

Standard benefits of 3T MRI Systems include;

  • a platform for a wider range of advanced applications
  • increased resolution
  • accelerated throughput
  • market leadership

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