MRIs, also known as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, allow for very detailed scans with the help of a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy. They help doctors see organs and structures inside the body that are different than other types of scans such as X-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans.
What is a 3T MRI?
Traditional MRI machines operate at a strength of 1.5T, or Teslas. A tesla is the unit of measurement quantifying the strength of a magnetic field. A 3T MRI generates a magnetic field that is twice as strong as a normal MRI, and 10 to 15 times as strong as open MRI scanners. What does that mean for you?
There Are Benefits to the 3T MRI
3T MRIs provide more scanning options for doctors, with sophisticated imaging procedures not available in lower-power models of MRI scanners, including the ability to scan in tiny slices as small as 1mm to help with difficult diagnosis of complex conditions. They provide higher detailed images in less time – sometimes 2 to 3 times faster. Though MRIs are especially suited for scans of conditions involving the brain, spine, and musculoskeletal system, 3T MRIs can now scan for new conditions like prostate cancer. In the case of MR Angiogram, these machines provide high-quality vascular imaging, decreasing the need for invasive catheter studies. The higher quality scans can detect smaller abnormalities or fractures of joints. They offer detailed imaging of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to assess the stability of joints, and in some cases they can even show bleeding involved with fractures. 3T MRI is also one of the most sensitive methods for detecting bone and other types of infections that cause tissue changes. All of this helps doctors ensure a more accurate diagnosis, which leads to better outcomes for patients thanks to early diagnosis and a better understanding of which parts of the body are affected.
3T MRIs take less time, which makes it more comfortable for the patient. They also come with a lower risk of distorted images, which lessens the need for repeated scans. 3T MRIs can have a larger and shorter magnet bore, which is the portion of the machine in which the patient has to lay still. This means patients with claustrophobia have more room and are less likely to request sedation. Larger patients will have an easier time getting a high quality scan because they can fit into the MRI machine, and patients receiving multi-part MRIs won’t have to be moved during the scans. This makes it much easier to scan injured or frail patients and also cuts down on how long the scans will take.
As an added bonus, 3T MRI scans don’t cost more than a traditional MRI, so your insurance company won’t force you into accepting a lower strength scan to save money. Your doctor will recommend the right MRI for you, but at least you can rest assured knowing that the 3T MRI was designed with both patients and doctors in mind.