MRI Magnet Strength: What It Is & Why It Matters

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When it comes to MRIs, not all equipment is created equal. Much of the disparity between MRI machines is due to the magnet strength. MRI magnet strength is key in producing different levels of quality in the images. In this article, we will discuss why magnet strength matters when it comes to MRIs and why you should know how much magnet strength your radiology center offers on their MRI machines.

Does magnet strength matter when it comes to MRIs?

The short answer is yes. Magnet strength matters because it directly relates to the quality of your scan images, which can make a big difference in your radiologist’s ability to accurately diagnose diseases or abnormality. Higher magnet strength translates to better quality and more detailed imagery. MRI magnet strength is measured in Teslas. The magnets in use today in MRI machines for general medical use are in the 0.5-Tesla to 3.0-Tesla range, with 3T being the highest imaging strength, able to produce highly detailed images. Extremely powerful magnets -- up to 60 Tesla -- are used in research imaging but not for common medical use.

How Magnet Strength is Evolving

As we mentioned, most imaging centers regularly use machines with field strengths of .75T-1.5T, with some centers offering 3T MRI technology. Still, ultra-high-field scanners are becoming more popular. There are many 7-T machines in research labs around the world, and in 2017, the first 7-T model was cleared for clinical use in the United States and Europe. These stronger machines mean the body can be imaged either at greater resolution, or even imaged at the same resolution, but more quickly.

Considerations When it Comes to Magnet Strength

Immense magnet strength or Tesla can attract nearby metal objects from where they sit. Radiology technologists must take special care to ensure any metal objects—even tiny pieces such as paper clips—are removed from the area or the magnet will attract them, often with extreme force. Higher magnetic field strength may not be able to be used with certain implants or devices and may not be advised for pregnant patients. 

At BICRAD, we are proud to over 3-T magnet MRI machines in our Oakland, Walnut Creek, and Concord locations to improve image quality for all of our MRI services. If you are looking for an MRI in San Francisco, put your imaging needs in the hands of the board-certified radiologists and high-resolution MRI machines at BICRAD.