High-Field MRI means the MRI scanner uses a very strong magnet. Magnet strength is measured in Tesla units. For years, High-Field MRIs were typically 1.5 Tesla machines, but now there are 3.0T MRIs as well. The only way to generate these powerful magnetic field strengths is to employ superconductive technology. The drawback of this technology is that patients are required to lie down in a cylinder-like space that some find uncomfortable.
The advantages of High-Field MRI are higher picture resolution, fast scans, and the ability to visualize physiological processes. For studies where exceptionally fine anatomical detail and clarity is required, such as in imaging the brain, High-Field MRI is usually the physician’s choice.
What is MRI used for?
Because MRI makes such detailed pictures of soft-tissue structures near and around bones, it is ideal for spinal and joint problems. MRI is widely used to diagnose sports-related injuries, especially those affecting the knee, shoulder, hip, elbow and wrist. MRI images allow physicians to see very small tears and injuries to ligaments and muscles.
In addition, MRI of the heart, aorta, coronary arteries and blood vessels is a quick, noninvasive tool for diagnosing coronary artery disease and heart problems. Physicians can examine the size and thickness of the chambers of the heart and determine the extent of damage caused by a heart attack or progressive heart disease.
Organs of the chest and abdomen—including the lungs, liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas and abdominal vessels—can also be examined in high detail with MRI, enabling the diagnosis and evaluation of tumors and functional disorders. MRI is growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional x-ray mammography in the early diagnosis of breast cancer. Because no radiation exposure is involved, MRI is often the preferred diagnostic tool for examination of the male and female reproductive systems, pelvis and hips and the bladder.