At RSNA, GE Healthcare was showcasing an impressive new MRI technology called Silent Scan, which might make undergoing an MRI scan much more comfortable than it is today. If you have ever had an MRI exam, you know that conventional MR scanners can be very loud. While scanning they typically produce sound levels of 90-110 decibels, which contributes to the already not-so-pleasant experience of the patient.
GE’s new Silent Scan technology reduces MR scanner noise to near ambient sound levels through new developments in both hardware and software. It uses a new advanced 3D acquisition and reconstruction technique called Silenz, in combination with high-fidelity MR gradient and RF system electronics. The company demonstrated this in action through a live-video link with their headquarters in Milwaukee where they showed an MRI scanning with Silent Scan, and indeed the noise during scanning was barely perceptible.
According to a representative at RSNA, for now the technique is limited to T1 and PD-weighted scans at 1.5 Tesla, but development is underway to make it work with other types of sequences and 3 Tesla systems. The rep was very tight-lipped about the exact techniques GE is using, as some of them are still in the process of being patented. After it receives FDA clearance, Silent Scan will both be available on new scanners as well as as an upgrade on some of GE’s most recent systems.
Here’s a head to head comparison of an MRI machine scanning with and without SilentScan: