With faster acquisition techniques, whole-body MR imaging (MRI) has matured from its use in experimental investigations to being a viable and powerful diagnostic tool for evaluating breast and lung cancer and skeletal tumours. Philips' whole-body MRI package offers direct head-to-toe visualisation with greater accuracy and without ionising radiation, thus enhancing diagnostic potential at the same time as improving patient safety and comfort.
Dr. Stephen Eustace, Director of Radiology at Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, routinely uses the whole-body imaging package on a Philips Intera 1.5T MR system. Commenting on his experience, he stated: "We conduct one to two whole-body studies per day as an alternative to other modalities to evaluate breast, lung and skeletal tumours. Tumours are extremely conspicuous on MR. We don't have to rely on the tumour's activity level to enable its detection. Intera's exceptionally linear gradient field ensures homogeneous fat suppression for the entire body, even when imaging at large field of views."
Evaluating breast cancer patients has been a difficult process for both patients and doctors, a situation that Dr. Eustace is working to change with whole-body MR. "Current practice calls for a total of three hours in scans alone", he noted. With the whole-body imaging package, Dr. Eustace can conduct a scan in about 10 minutes on and off the table and the results are immediately available. "With one MR scan, it is possible to get a global perception of total tumour burden."
The new MR imaging package includes a whole-body moving platform that fits on the patient support and provides rapid, automated table movement enabling feet-first, whole-body scanning in less than 10 minutes. Using the powerful Turbo-STIR acquisition sequence from the Intera's ScanTools software, the body coil and a large field of view, the whole-body imaging package enables the Intera system to produce high-quality head-to-toe images with impressive scan times.
Professor Hakan Ahlstrom, Professor of Radiology at Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden, has been using the Philips whole-body MR imaging package with a prototype table extension since December 2001. Commenting on his satisfaction with the package so far, he stated: "The system is excellent for rapid scanning and visualisation of the total vascular system. Typically, I can achieve a contrast investigation scan in about 87 seconds. Moreover, I am most impressed with the image quality, which is better than I had expected. I believe that the whole-body imaging package is also well suited for monitoring follow-up of treatment of stenosis and plaque, and most valuable in prognostics of the entire vascular tree."
More Philips news is available in the VMW January 2003 article Philips enables open access with new Vequion family of clinical IT products and services.