Austin Radiological Association is the only radiology practice in Austin with multiple 3T MRI scanners. 3T MRI is a powerful, open-bore scanner that can have shorter scan times than the 1.5T MRI. Consequently, 3T MRI can allow for less patient anxiety and sharper imaging. Your radiologist or doctor may recommend a 3T MRI scan for you or they may feel that the 1.5T MRI is the best option. 3T MRI can be especially useful in certain kinds of scans of the musculoskeletal system, brain, prostate and breast.
3T MRI allows exceptional visualization of smaller anatomical structures, including the joints of the hand, wrist, foot and ankle. Additionally, 3T MRI has been shown to offer superior sensitivity and specificity to MR arthrography for diagnosing labral tears in the hip and shoulder. In the case of arthography, 3T MRI may spare the patient an invasive needle procedure that might otherwise be required prior to the diagnostic MRI on a 1.5T system. Evaluation of articular cartilage is also significantly improved with 3T MRI. Other studies that have outstanding results on the 3T MRI include MRI of the fingers, the small ligaments of the wrist and any MTP joint pathology such as plantar plate injuries or “turf toe”.
The diagnostic accuracy of 3T MRI makes it an excellent choice for a number of structural and vascular neurological exams including MR angiography, TMJ studies, soft tissue neck exams and perfusion imaging. One particular area where 3T MRI shows potentially more sensitivity is in patients with seizures. In general, scan times on the 3T MRI are much shorter, which improves patient experience and lessens motion artifact.
Even with improved speed of imaging, 3T MRI allows for highly detailed imaging of anatomical structures, including the prostate, intestines, pelvis, rectum, lower extremities and renal arteries. The 3T even makes it possible for patients with chronic kidney disease to undergo a renal MRA without the use of contrast where contrast is contraindicated.
3T MRI offers state-of-the-art breast imaging with increased resolution and shorter scan times. Faster exams mean greater patient comfort and sharper images. Breast MRI is recommended in addition to mammography for women at a high risk for breast cancer (greater than 20% lifetime risk). It is also sometimes used to evaluate breast cancer before and after treatment.