Recently, researchers have come up with stretchable coils that help make the MRI imaging easier. Adopting the stretchable coil will also help physicians and patients with improved imaging quality.
FREMONT, CA: The advent of MRI has helped the scientists and physicians to measure brain functions in milliseconds. Magnetic Resonance Elastography(MRE) is another technology that allows physicians to diagnose and understand various neurological diseases comprising Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, and also epilepsy.
While undergoing an MRI scanning, most of the patients have to have the body parts imaged strapped into rigid and firm radio-frequency (RF) coils. These, however, can be very uncomfortable, as they are not custom-sized for every patient. Since most of the MRI exams can take at least an hour or more to perform, the scanning process can be complicated for many to undergo.
Some of the researchers at Purdue University developed RF coils that are flexible, which one day can be used within wearable garments that will be worn during one of the MRI exams. The created strap is adaptable, wearable, and stretchable fabric embroidered with conductive threads providing excellent signal-to-noise ratio for improved scanning.
The new coils rely on the conductive silver-coated threads that are stitched to the fabric. The threads are then applied in an alternating pattern to create a zig-zag design that optimizes the signal to noise ratio. Because the coil is flexible and can be placed close to the body, the imaging quality improves compared with rigid, one-size-fits-all devices. MRI imaging of breasts can particularly be impacted, as those organs tend to be of different sizes and densities.
So far, only essential imaging has been attempted using the new coils, but the results are promising already. Signal to Noise (SNR) calculations show that the stretchable coil designed is comparable to a flexible, standard PCB coil with 13-30 percent minimized in SNR depending on the stretch degree and direction.
This coil allows joint imaging at various degrees of flexibility, offering the closest proximity of placement to the skin. The materials offer a similar level of comfort to athletic wear and can incorporate into coils for various kinds of anatomies.