The MROpen MRI system is a 0.5 Tesla (0.5T) open sky, upright magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, designed and developed by Paramed Medical Systems, a subsidiary of ASG Superconductors, an Italian medical device company, to offer a stress-free scanning experience to patients who cannot lie down or suffer from claustrophobia.
Indicated for diagnostic imaging, MROpen received the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) clearance for clinical use in May 2008, and was commercially launched in 2010.
MROpen 0.5T MRI system design details
The MROpen MRI system is a superconductive scanner with an open sky design, equipped with a vertical and extra-wide U-shaped superconducting magnet, allowing the system to be completely open from above, front and back, depending on the patient’s requirement.
The system has dedicated multi-array coils that utilise MAX technology. The coils are multi-channelled and combine flat and solenoid-type coils for better imaging of each anatomical area by maximising the signal-to-noise ratio. The magnetic field of the system is oriented in a transverse direction, improving image quality.
The vertical opening can accommodate larger, claustrophobic, elderly or young patients, or those who are in pain, by providing a scanner with no barrier between the patient and the environment.
The system uses a weight-bearing approach for upright scanning and imaging of the spine and joints. Upright imaging enables early detection of spine and joint pathologies, improving patients’ prognoses.
Features of the superconductor used in the MROpen MRI system
The MROpen MRI system utilises proprietary high-temperature superconductors with superconductive cable made of Magnesium Diboride (MgB2) alloy.
The alloy holds superconductive properties at specific temperatures, which can be reached using conventional cooling systems. It allows cryogen-free operation of the system and avoids the use of helium for generating superconductive power.
MROpen EVO 0.5T MRI system software details
MROpen EVO uses the company’s MR-GUI Pro software platform. The software is integrated with a new IBOX spectrometer, and allows post-processing management of the acquired images.
The user interface was developed in compliance with Windows Presentation Foundation guidelines and is designed to maximise workflow, usability and product reliability.
The optimisation of acquisition sequences and the reconstruction algorithm offer high image quality and spatial resolution.
Technical details of MROpen 0.5T MRI system
The system weighs approximately 50,000 lbs. It requires a three-phased 400V-480V power for performance and standard radiofrequency shielding of more than 90dB. It can support patients weighing up to 440lbs.
The MRI’s magnet weighs 44,000lbs. Its width is 5.6ft and its depth is 6.6ft. It is 6.6ft high and has a lateral gap of 1.9ft. The radiofrequency system has a maximum strength of plus or minus 20mT/m with 9kW radiofrequency amplifier.
MROpen EVO details and features
MROpen EVO is the latest version of the MROpen MRI system, which was launched in December 2019. It is a new superconducting, magnesium diboride (MgB2) cryogen-free positional MR imaging system, offering several enhancements including a new digital spectrometer, new graphic user interface, improved operating software, new coils, and re-designed sequences for faster scans compared to the original MROpen.
The new head and neck coils offer improved neurological imaging and can be utilised for all routine and special imaging sequences. A long spine coil allows the imaging of the entire spine without requiring the patient to be removed from the table and without the need to change coils.
The large field of view of the system enables imaging for a variety of conditions including syringomyelia, metastatic disease, scoliosis and multiple sclerosis.
The wide-open, patient-friendly design of the MROpen EVO offers high-quality diagnostic images in a comfortable scanning environment. Patients can also look around and watch television, comfortably seated in the scanner, while undergoing an MRI procedure.
MROpen 0.5T MRI system installation
The first MROpen 0.5T MRI system was installed at the Centro La Diagnostica in Sicily, Italy, in January 2010.
The first in the US was installed at Doshi Diagnostic Imaging Centre in New York City in June 2011. A second unit was installed in the American Health Imaging (AHI) facility in San Antonio, Texas, in November 2019. ASG Superconductors is installing three MROpen EVO systems at its AHI facilities in Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama.
Advantages of MROpen 0.5T MRI system
The open MRI system removes obstructions between the patient and the surrounding environment. It provides a better and more comfortable position during scanning for the elderly and children as well as patients living with claustrophobia, those who are in pain or those who cannot lie in a supine position.
It is possible to scan patients in various postures, including sitting, standing, lying down or bending. Functional and dynamic examinations of the musculoskeletal system are possible in the most suitable position for the patient.
The conventional open MRI system has a C-shaped magnet design and can be opened only horizontally, while the MROpen 0.5T MRI system can also be opened vertically.
Helium-free operation of the system makes it more environmentally friendly than other MRI systems on the market. The system runs on green technology with simple functioning and lower cost of operation.
International Electric (IECO), an electric coil and transformer manufacturer based in Finland, supplies complete gradient electronics, including gradient power amplifiers, magnet power supplies, temperature control units, through-feed filters and related equipment to Paramed for the MROpen System.