Thanks to MAVRIC SL, the new software unveiled by GE Healthcare last month, patients with metal implants can now receive clear, readable MRI scans. Traditionally, safety issues have prevented patients with metal implants from using MRI technology. Often times clinicians turned to X-rays when appropriate to image patients with metal implant but these frequently failed to produce strong pictures of the surrounding soft tissue, sometimes leading to exploratory surgery or biopsies.
GE’s new software produces a clearer image of soft tissue and bone in patients with metal implants in the knee, hips and other joints. “This [project] was driven by clinical need,” Dr, Hollis Potter, Chief of MRI Imaging at Hospital for Special Surgery and lead member of the development team explained. It can also be used for anyone who has metal in their body including dental implants. The MAVRIC software enhances the doctor’s ability to diagnose soft tissue abnormalities like swelling or arthritis without the need of a biopsy or exploratory surgery.
“The MAVRIC software uses individual “shots” of an image, each one capturing signals from a different frequency component that will make up the final image. The MAVRIC SL captures preserves signal and minimizes distortion when the images is reconstructed.”
Rather than relying on the traditional markers in a patients profile, (BMI, age and sex) which have been unreliable in the past, the MAVRIC SL system can also be used to screen patients that are at risk for complications from their implants by identifying the abnormal synovial thickness, a more reliable indicator for an implant that could be problematic in the future. This was confirmed by a study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery where MRI scans were used to detect this inflammation of the joint lining in patients with metal-on-metal hip implants long before symptoms appeared. This, Dr. Potter explains, allows for a more conclusive diagnosis and effective planning for follow-up.
GE expects the MAVRIC SL to be available sometime in July 2013 as a software upgrade for the GE 1.5T and 3.0T MRI systems.