Siemens Healthineers moves into new clinical fields with small and lightweight whole body MRI

Currently under development, the Magnetom Free.Max presents a new class of MRI systems that Siemens Healthineers calls ‘High-V MRI’. The scanner’s combination of digital technologies and a field strength of 0.55T broadens the range of clinical applications for MRI systems.

“Magnetom Free.Max considerably improves pulmonary imaging with MRI and allows patients with implants to be scanned much more accurately,” the company states. The bore size has been enlarged to 80cm, making the experience more comfortable for patients. Siemens says this opening is the biggest whole body MRI bore available on the market.

“Thanks to innovative digital solutions such as Deep Resolve, Magnetom Free.Max can deliver image quality that used to be possible only at higher field strengths,” said MR business manager for Siemens Healthineers GB&I Alistair Piggot. “Deep Resolve uses neural networks to generate high resolution images from a lower input signal, which provides excellent diagnostic images and speeds up the scanning process.”

The first Magnetom Free.Max is located at Erlangen University Hospital in Germany. Dr Rafael Heiss said: “In recent weeks, we’ve seen the full potential of the scanner in clinical routine and, in addition to its wide application range, we were particularly excited about its capabilities for pulmonary imaging, which had not been a domain of MRI until now. With more than 70 lung patients examined so far, we have been able to achieve very promising results. We see great potential in terms of COVID-19 patients.”

At just over three tonnes in weight and just below two metres in transportation height, the machine is the most lightweight as well as the most compact whole body scanner Siemens Healthineers has ever built. The company developed a new magnet for this purpose with DryCool technology, which requires less than one litre of liquid helium for cooling and no quench pipe.

To install the new scanner, rooms no longer have to be opened or converted at great cost. “I see great benefit in, for example, bringing MRI directly to the intensive care unit, as transport of critically ill patients to the central radiology department today is risky and cumbersome,” said Professor Elmar Merkle at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland.

Siemens Healthineers also introduces myExam Companion to the field of MRI, an AI-based user guidance system that is already used in modalities such as CT and x-ray imaging. It enables routine examinations to be automated, eliminating repetitive tasks and allows even novice technologists to operate the MR system with ease.

Picture: The Magnetom Free.Max is the smallest and most lightweight whole body MRI from Siemens Healthineers.

Published on page 14 of the December 2020 issue of RAD Magazine.

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