Summer 2009

New MRI Scanners Enhance Imaging Options

Because magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays an increasingly prominent role in diagnosing illness and injury — including neurological illness and injury — UCSF Medical Center has purchased three newly released, 3-tesla short-bore MRI scanners. "Each system has its own unique design and applications, but both can consistently produce the highest image quality possible," says Benjamin Mow, chief technologist, MRI, at UCSF Medical Center.

Two of the new scanners (General Electric's top-of-the-line Signa MR750) will be used largely for inpatient procedures in the Radiology unit on the third floor of UCSF's Parnassus hospital. These two scanners have a newly designed hardware platform, powerful gradients and advanced coil design.

They will provide:

  • Improved image quality in a shorter amount of time for all conventional imaging.
  • Improved image and data quality from advanced applications such as spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging and tractography.
  • Functional MRI (fMRI) with easier-to-use paradigms.
  • An in-the-room monitor that enables the technologist to set up and perform an exam without having to leave the patient's side, providing safer and faster patient care.

"The better image quality and improved efficiency will enable us to better serve all of our patients," says Kathy Knoerl, operations director, UCSF Radiology department.

The third scanner (Siemens' top-of-the-line Magnetom Verio) will be at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion and will be used largely for outpatient imaging. Its unique applications include high-resolution breast imaging and biopsy localization, as well as pediatric whole body imaging. In addition, its 70-centimeter bore size and 550-pound weight limit will facilitate high-resolution MRIs for certain bariatric patients who are often difficult to serve, either because of the weight limitations of most current systems or because of the suspect image quality of "open" systems.

Where and When to Get an MRI

UCSF Medical Center offers weekday, evening, Saturday and Sunday MRI appointments at three San Francisco locations:

UCSF Medical Center, 1 Irving St.: Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, 1600 Divisadero St.: Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

UCSF Imaging Center at China Basin, 185 Berry St., Lobby 6: Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, call Radiology central scheduling at (415) 353–2573.

Related Information

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UCSF was the second largest recipient of National Institutes of Health (NIH) research support in 2008. UCSF received more than $444 million in research and training grants, fellowships and other awards.