Medical fee schedules calculate payments by use of Current Procedural Terminology.(CPT) codes. CPT codes for MRI scans are organized by regions of the body. But there are no CPT code categories for the level of technology of the MRI device itself. And not all MRI scanners are the same. The technology is constantly advancing, as there is seemingly an unending list of newly published scientific studies.
GE Healthcare is the leading manufacturer of MRI equipment, with a market share of over 25%. Siemens Healthineers is the second-leading manufacturer, with a market share of over 20%. Philips Healthcare is the third-leading manufacturer, with a market share of over 15%.
The leading manufacturers of MRI equipment continue to invest in research and development, and they are constantly developing new technologies that improve the quality and accuracy of MRI scans.
Here are some of the advancements in MRI equipment over the last decade:
– – Increased field strength: MRI scanners have become more powerful, with field strengths now reaching up to 7 Tesla. This allows for better image quality, especially in areas with high tissue contrast, such as the brain and spine.
– – Improved gradient coils: Gradient coils are used to create a magnetic field gradient, which is necessary for image acquisition. Improved gradient coils allow for faster scan times and better image resolution.
– – New coil designs: New coil designs allow for improved image quality in specific areas of the body. For example, phased array coils can be used to acquire images of the heart, while diffusion tensor imaging coils can be used to study the brain’s white matter.
– – Software advancements: Software advancements have led to faster scan times, improved image quality, and new imaging techniques. For example, parallel imaging techniques allow for faster scans by acquiring data from fewer receiver coils.
– – Open MRI scanners: Open MRI scanners are designed for patients who are claustrophobic or who cannot lie down flat for an MRI scan. These scanners have a larger opening and do not require patients to lie down flat, which can make the scan more comfortable for some patients.
These advancements have made MRI a more versatile and powerful imaging tool. MRI is now used to diagnose a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, and neurological disorders.
Here are some specific examples of how these advancements have been used to improve patient care:
– – Increased field strength has allowed for better visualization of tumors and other abnormalities in the brain and spine. This has led to earlier diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, which can improve patient outcomes.
– – Improved gradient coils have allowed for faster scans of the heart. This is important for patients who are at risk for heart disease, as it allows doctors to diagnose and treat heart problems early.
– – New coil designs have allowed for improved imaging of the brain’s white matter. This is important for studying conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
– – Software advancements have led to faster scans of the entire body. This is important for patients who need to undergo multiple MRI scans, as it can reduce the amount of time they spend in the scanner.
– – Open MRI scanners have made MRI scans more accessible to patients who are claustrophobic or who cannot lie down flat. This has improved the quality of life for many patients who would otherwise be unable to receive an MRI scan.
7 Tesla MRI systems are typically used for research purposes, but they are becoming increasingly available in clinical settings. However, 7T MRI systems also have some disadvantages, including increased risk of side effects.
There is no MRI system with absolutely zero side effects. However, the highest Tesla system with minimal side effects is likely a 3 Tesla (3T) system. 3T systems are becoming increasingly common in clinical settings, and they offer a number of advantages over lower-field systems, such as improved image quality and resolution.