The MRI machine is a medical marvel to be admired, but when the time comes to consider an upgrade to new system, there are some basic factors your staff must consider in order to ensure the next system will be the right choice for your practice or department. The decision isn’t always an open and shut case.


The first question we often ask customers is – what does your facility really need? For example, many new systems provide 1.5T or 3.0T scanning. The higher resolution provides several clinical benefits; however, some exams may consume more time than lower resolution scans do. If a good portion of your scans will be in neurology, prostate, breast, hands and wrists, then the 3.0T unit may very well be warranted. These systems will also weigh more than 1.5T units do, so that needs to be considered depending on where the system will be located. If a 1.5T MRI unit is adequate for your imaging needs, then your considerations will be based on whether you go with closed or open platforms.


There are pros and cons to either one. Closed short bore 1.5T systems will tend to provide faster scan times than open systems.


Open systems on the other hand may alleviate patient anxieties over closed spaces, yet because of their shape they cannot take images of certain areas of the body. Image quality is also of lesser quality as the strength of an open MRI is less than it would be for a closed system. So here again is the reason to start your evaluation with a thorough understanding of what your practice is going to do. Much of that information will come from other stakeholders in your facility.


We usually ask some detail-oriented questions in our approach, but we never underestimate the value of various perspectives including your imaging staff and facilities management. Remember, the weight issue on some 3.0T machines will either restrict your choices or require additional floor support which leads to additional costs.


Our team understands the purpose of working together to address your needs. MRI and CT Systems are not only assets to a medical facility, they are vital tools for a patient’s health. So before you get too far along in your MRI evaluation, take the time to speak with KEI Medical Imaging. We’ll help you make the right choice. Contact us at info@keimedicalimaging.com


Updated: Mar 3, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new draft guidance titled Testing and Labeling Medical Devices for Safety in the Magnetic Resonance (MR) Environment.

The MR environment presents unique safety hazards for patients and other persons with medical devices near or inside an MR system. This draft guidance, when finalized, is intended to:


  • provide recommendations on testing for assessing the safety and compatibility of medical devices in the MR environment

  • identify test methods that address specific hazards and provide recommended format for MRI Safety Information in medical device labeling, and

  • Submit comments on the draft guidance.


According to the FDA, the guidance document “applies to all implanted medical devices, external medical devices that are fastened to or carried by a patient, and all medical devices that are intended to enter the MR environment.” Contents include recommendations on MR safety and compatibility assessments, as well as key information the agency says should be included in any FDA submissions for the affected devices. The guidance does not apply to the MRI scanner systems themselves. 


In the document, the FDA recommends that the safety and performance of a medical device should be assessed for all of the magnetic field strengths to which that device may potentially be exposed. Some of the potential safety issues covered in the document include: 

  • Magnetically induced displacement force and/or torque (unwanted movement of the device caused by the magnetic field); 

  • Heating of the medical device and/or surrounding tissue, by radiofrequency (RF) induction or switching magnetic field gradients;

  • Gradient induced vibration of the medical device;

  • Unintended stimulation of the device by switching gradient pulses;

  • Medical device malfunction; and

  • Image artifacts.

The FDA explains that all devices should be labeled as either MR-conditional (demonstrated safety in the MR environment within defined conditions), MR safe (poses no known hazards resulting from exposure to any MR environment) or MR unsafe (poses unacceptable risks to the patient,medical staff or other persons within the MR environment). 


This draft guidance will be open for public comments for 60 days at www.Regulations.gov under docket number FDA-2019-D-2837.

By Gordon Schoppe


Image artifacts are a part of MRI life. Knowing which room you need to be in is the senior most part of troubleshooting. There are multiple reasons for image artifacts and the environment of the magnet room is always a good suspect, but where ever you start your troubleshooting, remember to keep an open mind throughout your investigation. Here are just a few of the typical conditions I have found when handling artifact issues among scanners.


Humidity. The room humidity can be a significant factor with MRI systems. Too much humidity may cause condensation on the electronics and shorts in the equipment.  If humidity is too low, your system may be prone to static electricity and electro-static discharge (ESD). This will cause blown pixels in your imaging. 


Temperature. Room temperature has an impact on the electronics within your system. Inadequate thermal management often gives way to overheating, and that is never good for any sophisticated equipment. Metal expansion can cause the screws to expand and loosen which also causes artifacts.


Room Door. The room door is one of the most common problems we see when artifacts occur. Your room door is the only moving part hardware in the MRI room. It must have a good, clean RF seal at all times to prevent artifacts.

Light Bulbs. Lighting is another item in your MRI room you may not immediately recognize as a trouble source. If you are using incandescent lights then they will need tungsten filaments. LED lights are frequency-driven lights that may create RF harmonic issues in the room. Bad coils or RF traps are a great cause of RF artifacts in the images. 


Of course, there will be other pieces to the puzzle in artifact issues. You may have issues with parts or components that need to be handled. With 28 years of experience in MRI system troubleshooting, I will tell you these are among the top points on a good checklist whenever I hear about artifacts.


If you have questions or trouble, contact me at KEI Medical Imaging. Email or call 512.477.1500.