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3T MRI: Q&A about a UK first in diagnostic scanning

17 Sep 2018

Patients at The London Clinic are the first in the UK to experience advanced 3T MRI scanning on the Siemens MAGNETOM Vida 3T MRI scanner. Sohail Bhana, The London Clinic’s 3T MRI Superintendent, tells us more about why it's good news for patients.

3T MRI scanner

What is the Siemens Magnetom VIDA 3T MRI Scanner?

The 3T MRI scanner provides high quality diagnostic imaging for patients with cancer, orthopaedic (spine, shoulders, knees and hips), urology (prostate and bladder) and neurology (brain) conditions. 

It’s the most advanced and most accurate imaging technology available in the world and The London Clinic is the first hospital in the UK (and one of only a few in the world) to make it available to patients. This supersedes the previous Siemens 3T model that was released in 2009 and allows us to offer the most advanced and accurate 3T MRI imaging of any hospital in the UK.

How is this scanner different to the 1.5 MRI scanners?

It’s twice as powerful as the 1.5 MRI scanners. The purpose of the Siemens MAGNETOM Vida 3T MRI scanner is to provide advanced imaging for detecting small structures or disease throughout the whole body. 

The scanning process is faster and the equipment more adaptable to individual needs. The wider 70cm size of the tunnel (bore) is larger which reduces any sense of claustrophobia or anxiety for the patient.

3T MRI provides exceptional anatomical detail and is the gold standard offering. It produces a higher spatial resolution, resulting in better visualization of anatomic structures and subtle abnormalities can be more easily be detected. 

How is the machinery adaptable to individual needs?

The scan table the patient lies on monitors your breathing and it can adjust to accommodate any physical restrictions. For example, if the patient has difficulty tilting their head or neck, the platform rest will do this for them. 

The patient can choose which music, radio station, or podcast they would like to listen to and they can customise the lighting.

If the patient has any specific needs such as being very unwell, our staff have the knowledge and experience to accommodate for every case and we have all the necessary equipment on hand to ensure comfort and safety. 

The scan table can be withdrawn from the tunnel with precision and speed at any time. This is controlled by an automated system rather than manually, which is much safer and more comfortable for the patient.

The report turnaround time for the imagery is 24 hours and the patient has the option of having those images put onto a CD, to take away with them. 

Who manages the MRI scan?

We have an excellent team of highly experienced radiologists, radiographers and other clinical staff, all of whom are of the highest calibre in their field. My role at The London Clinic has been to provide additional one-to-one training, specifically in the use of the new 3T MRI equipment.  

The suite has been designed with space and patient comfort in mind. At any one time there will be two radiographers with the patient and there is additional room for support staff, as well as family members if they want to be there.

Are there any risks involved in having a MRI scan?

No, MR imaging is not harmful. If there is any possibility you could be pregnant, if you have a pacemaker, any metal clips, or an implant, then we would screen you in advance to check you are compatible.

If there was any risk at all, we would scan you using the 1.5 MRI scanner rather than the 3T MRI scanner. With two 1.5T and one 3T scanner at The London Clinic we have this flexibility. 

Where does the scan take place?

Located in the Duchess of Devonshire Wing, The London Clinic’s international award winning cancer centre. Our priority when designing the 3T MRI suite was patient comfort.

The scanner has a wider 70cm bore and offers customisable lighting and music options for a greater patient experience, ensuring our patients feel at ease during their stay with us. 

The design of the suite is light, relaxing and spacious with soothing music and cherry blossom decoration throughout. 

3T MRI suite

If required, we can provide general anaesthetic prior to the scan and the suite includes plenty of room and all the necessary equipment, both for the preparation and recovery from this procedure. 

What can a patient expect when undergoing a scan?

A typical patient pathway at The London Clinic involves a very considered step by step process, supported by our staff throughout, with clear and calm communications and plenty of time for questions.

The arrival of the Siemens MAGNETOM Vida 3T MRI scanner signals the beginning of a new era of advanced diagnostics and the highest quality personalised care at The London Clinic. 



Any views expressed in this article are those of the featured specialist(s) and should not be considered to be the views or official policy of The London Clinic.