Siemens Healthineers has just won the first European regulatory approval for an ultra-high-field MRI scanner to be used in clinical practice. The Magnetom Terra sports a magnetic field strength of 7 Tesla, which is considerably more powerful than 3 Tesla, the current high-end standard. MRIs of such strength have been used in research hospitals for years, so it’s a welcome sign that they’re going to be used in more routine applications.
Additionally, the new scanner can be easily switched from clinical protocols to those used in research and back, as needed, providing the greatest applicability to hospitals that would be ordering such an advanced device.
A greater field strength results in a higher image resolution as well as improved contrast, allowing one to see more details, be it in neurological or musculoskeletal exams.
A Siemens Healthineers announcement points to the device’s ability to help identify white and gray matter in patients with epilepsy, which may be used to better diagnose and manage their condition. Similarly with folks who have multiple sclerosis, the new scanner can help spot lesions in the gray matter with greater ease.
“This ability to use 7 Tesla technology in the clinical realm is a breakthrough into broader clinical 7 Tesla MR applications. This CE certificate is now well-supported by the remarkable progress with respect to novel radio-frequency technologies and MR methods that will make whole-body MRI at 7 Tesla feasible in the future. It will definitely foster the translation of research into clinical applications,” in a statement said Professor Dr. Siegfried Trattnig, M.D., Director of the MR Centre of Excellence at the Medical University of Vienna, “And, the higher signal to noise ratio, the improved contrast, and non-proton MR at 7T will translate into better spatiotemporal resolution, but even more importantly into enhanced biochemical and metabolic tissue characterisation en route to clinical noninvasive personalised medicine.”
In terms of installation, Siemens Healthineers touts that it’s the world’s lightest 7 Tesla whole-body magnet, being half the weight of similar actively shielded devices. This makes it similarly difficult to install as more common 3 Tesla scanners.