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Extremity MRI

The ONI Extremity MRI

Dartmouth-Hitchock now operates the world’s first high-field MRI scanner specifically designed for scanning the extremities. The MSK Extreme® 1.5T MRI scanner, by ONI Medical Systems, offers patients a significantly more comfortable experience without any compromise in image quality. The ONI scanner also permits a significant improvement in our MRI scheduling, with same-day appointments possible in many cases.

The new extremity MRI is designed to provide high-quality images of hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, knees, fingers and toes. In comparison with standard whole-body scanners, the MSK Extreme offers these benefits:

  • Reduces or eliminates feelings of claustrophobia
  • Reduces the need for sedation
  • Quieter than standard MRI scanners
  • More comfortable patient posture
  • Lessens unintended movement
  • Parents can stay with children during scan

Graphic: extremity MRI

Background

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a radiation-free, safe imaging tool that gives physicians an important way of diagnosing injury and illness. Unfortunately, the patient experience can be uncomfortable: a scan takes 45 minutes or more, and, depending on imaging needs, can be physically constraining, loud, and awkward. Feelings of claustrophobia are not uncommon. While more comfortable low-strength “open-MRI” devices are available, they are not always appropriate.

In recent years, a much smaller MRI scanners have been available which can be used for imaging arms, hands, legs, and feet. This “extremity MRI” eliminates the need to involve the entire body, as only an arm or leg need be inside the device, while the patient sits or reclines comfortably—and outside. While noticeably improving patient comfort, existing extremity MRI devices have been till now limited by their relatively low power. (MR magnet strength—and thus, imaging resolution—is measured in “Teslas,” and until now the strongest extremity MRI devices available were limited to 1.0 T, significantly less than what conventional MRI devices can provide.)

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