3T or not 3T: That is the Question?
I recently had a discussion regarding the differences between 1.5T and 3T MRI systems. Of course there are obvious differences such as; cost, magnet strength and core qualities but where is the value add and benefits in implementing a 3T MRI verses a high end 1.5T MRI? This discussion sparked questions about exam workflow, image quality and scanning speed among others. The discussion went on for a half hour and we all agreed that researching the benefits of the 3T MRI systems and their applications would be the only way to answer our questions…
I began researching that night on the internet and continued the next day by calling a few MRI Technologists and MRI vendors. Below are a few differences / benefits I was able to identify;
1.5T MRI Systems
3T MRI Systems
Lower Magnetic Field Strength
Twice the Magnetic Field Strength
Lower Signal to Noise Ratio – Less Sensitive
Higher Signal to Noise Ration – More Sensitive
Lower Image Contrast in soft tissue
Higher Image Contrast in soft tissue
Motion artifacts more severe
Image inhomogeneity was more prominent
Longer scanning times
Shorter scanning times
Overall lower image quality
Overall higher image quality
Standard benefits of 3T MRI Systems include;
In short it appears that 3T MRI Systems are not just stronger but also more efficient and more equipped to adapt to the future demands of MRI exams. A name brand MRI vendor told me 3T scanners can perform routine MRI scans and add value by creating and handling additional volume with newer offerings such as breast MRI, MR angiography and cardiac scanning which makes them more valuable than a 1.5T system.
Write back and tell me your opinion / experience with 1.5T versus 3T MRI systems.
Do you think that a 3T MRI system is worth the extra $$$$ ??