Magnetic resonance (MRI) 3 Tesla, what is it?
We often hear about diagnostic tests without being clear about the differences between them, as for example, between the 3-tesla
magnetic resonance and a traditional one.
Magnetic resonance imaging is a process that uses radio waves and a powerful magnet attached to a computer to produce detailed
images of areas inside the body. These images can show the difference between normal and abnormal tissue. Often patients confuse MRI with a CT Scan.
The difference between MRI and computerized axial tomography (CAT or CT) is in the way to obtain images. In the case of CT images are taken by means of an X-ray beam that makes a circular movement surrounding the area that we want to investigate, like taking multiple radiographs from multiple angles.
Tesla (T) is the unit of measurement of the power of any magnetic field. Before the appearance of the new 3T equipment, the standard was 1.5 T, which means that the magnetic field of these equipment is twice as powerful and 10-15 times more powerful
than that of the open magnetic resonance equipment.
MRI of 3 tesla offers more precision in less time.
The 3-tesla MR imaging machine has a more powerful magnet and produces better images of organs and soft tissue than other types of MR procedures.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, we could say that this magnetic resonance is like an encyclopaedia: the quality of the image that this equipment produces is used to diagnose alterations that affect fundamentally the brain, the spine, the prostate and articulations (skeletal muscle system), without forgetting that the increase in spatial resolution that it offers, will allow us to obtain images of high quality blood vessels and that will sometimes substitute invasive vascular studies using catheters.
The high image quality obtained allows radiologists to accurately differentiate benign from malignant lesions with much greater safety, which translates into an earlier and more accurate diagnosis. In this sense, this equipment improves, for example, the detection of primary and metastatic brain tumours, as well as the ability to see the smallest prostate tumours.
From the care point of view, the patient gains in comfort, since it allows to obtain a quality imagery at high resolution, in a shorter time, up to 40% faster, reducing patients’ waiting time. And, within the area of molecular radiology, it offers new possibilities in the
early diagnosis of cancer. Furthermore, the scanning protocols are adapted to each patient, improving their comfort during the study.
Is there any kind of risk to the patient?
There is no risk, except for certain patients with electrical or ferromagnetic devices whose function can be altered when subjected to an electromagnetic field (pacemaker, pumps infusion of medications, cochlear implants).
Sometimes to complete the study, this is done with an intravenous contrast that is inserted through the vein in the arm, although very safe, it is avoided with patients with severe renal insufficiency. In all cases, before undergoing the examination, our staff will conduct a thorough interrogation that leaves no doubt before the test can be performed.
Although the future of the image diagnosis technology is widely adopted implanted due to its scientific endorsement, the truth is that it is not yet available in all the Centres. At HC Marbella we already have this type of 3T MRI, to ensure a better and faster diagnosis while improving the patient's experience.