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London Bridge Hospital presents new 3T MRI Scanner at 31 Old Broad Street


31 Old Broad Street, London Bridge Hospital’s satellite centre in the heart of the City, is proud to offer the latest in MRI technology, with the introduction of the NEW Siemens 3 Tesla (3T) Magnetom Skyra Scanner - providing patients with the highest quality scans. As the first centre within the wider London Bridge Hospital group to offer the 3T MRI, the initial trial (which began in mid-July) has already seen 107 patients scanned with this exciting new technology.

Offering a higher resolution than the 1.5T magnet, the 3T MRI aids in delineating small structures that cannot be seen at lower resolutions. Commonly utilised in brain imaging, this improved image quality provides a choice between thinner slices or increase in-plane resolution, resulting in improvements in both spatial and temporal resolution.

Referring to the benefits of the new 3T, Dr Ben Turner, Consultant Neurologist at London Bridge Hospital highlights; “The 3 Tesla MRI is a major advance in medical imaging. The development of the 3T scanner has moved the quality of brain imaging to another level. In two important fields of Neurology - epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, 3T images identify lesions not visible on 1.5T MRI’s, therefore in patients with normal 1.5T MRI’s abnormalities may be overlooked. In the near future 3T MRI will be the standard.”

Additional benefits of the 3T include an increased Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR), which can be used to improve image quality or decrease scan time. Decreased scan times help to reduce patient movement artifacts, and in conjunction with new movement correction sequences, the 3T scanner can ensure high quality imaging is still produced, even for patients who struggle to remain still.

Furthermore, increases in chemical shift at 3T allow for improved MR spectroscopy, while new spectroscopy techniques aid in the diagnosis of breast and prostate cancer. Mr Rick Popert, Consultant Urological Surgeon at London Bridge Hospital expands on this; “The new 3T MRI service for London Bridge Hospital will enhance the service for men and GPs concerned about prostate cancer risk. The improved image quality and faster image acquisition sequences should better determine who needs prostate biopsies and how best they should be done. The ability to ‘fuse’ the 3T MRI images with ‘live’ ultrasound provides the most precise method to target specific areas within the prostate.”

Mr Popert concluded, “The new 3T offering will help London Bridge Hospital to deliver Precision Prostate Diagnostics, resolve uncertainty and provide better individualised treatments for prostate cancer.”

Moreover, the 3T’s improved fat suppression techniques are especially beneficial for musculoskeletal studies, while its improved visualisation of cartilage enables imaging specialists to map the water content within cartilage, facilitating early detection of cartilage degeneration.

Discussing the benefits for musculoskeletal studies in more detail, Mr Ian McDermott, Specialist Knee Surgeon at London Sports Orthopaedics said, “Our new 3T scanner at 31 Old Broad Street gives the best quality pictures with the finest resolution that I have ever seen. The value of an MRI scan depends hugely on the resolution of the actual images, and particularly in knee joints it is vital to get fine and accurate pictures of structures such as the articular cartilage, which is only millimetres thick. This new scanner increases my confidence in the imaging that we are now able to perform, which aids enormously one's confidence in detecting pathology and achieving a correct diagnosis. This scanner will also now allow more modern forms of imaging, such as dGEMRIC scanning, which shows not just the structure but also the actual quality of cartilage in the knee, which is a very exciting new tool. We sometimes have to view patients' imaging that they bring from having had scans done elsewhere on lower quality scanners, and the stark contrast seen when having to try and interpret fuzzy and speckly low-res images really does emphasise just how lucky we are at our centre to have instant direct access to such cutting-edge imaging technology.”

Discussing the installation of the new 3T scanner, Tamsin O’Shaughnessy, Senior Radiographer at 31 Old Broad Street said; “We are thrilled to be the first centre in the London Bridge Hospital group to house a 3T MRI scanner. Since we started using the 3T in mid-July, our patients and specialists have given extremely positive feedback. In particular, patients find the shorter and wider bore much more comfortable, while the mood lighting on the front of the scanner helps to provide a more relaxing atmosphere. This improved patient experience, combined with the fact the high quality images the 3T produces and the cutting edge techniques available such as the cartilage mapping and spectroscopy for cancer detection, is a huge development in aiding patient diagnosis.”