How MRI Works & How We Save You Time & Money
We can procure most instrument types and can accommodate any brand preferences your lab might have. Contact us today and see how our leasing program can discount your MRI scanner price
All equipment brands/models are available
Here are the advantages of Excedr’s magnetic resonance imaging machine leasing program:
- Eliminates the upfront cost of buying equipment by leasing and lets you enjoy the benefits of having manageable payments over time instead
- Payments may be 100% tax deductible*, which yields you significant cash-savings
- We minimize instrument downtime with our complete repair coverage
- Minimal instrument downtime because we cover repairs and service visits
- Excedr handles the admin work associated with equipment procurement and maintenance
- With the capital saved through our program, labs are better able to reinvest in their core business and operations (staffing, inventory, marketing/sales, etc.)
*Please consult your tax advisor to determine the full tax implications of leasing equipment.
Taking scanned images of the internal organs of a person is a valuable tool in the medical world, as they offer a non-invasive solution to evaluating a person’s physical health.
Many techniques, however, make use of X-rays or ionizing radiation that, in large enough doses, can be detrimental to a patient’s health. Magnetic resonance imaging is a technique used by radiologists that employs strong magnetic fields, magnetic field gradients, and radio waves to generate an image. Magnetic resonance imaging, more commonly referred to as MRI, is used to create detailed images of a subject’s anatomy. Though much safer than other medical imaging techniques, due to the enclosed space that the patient is put into and the unnervingly loud sounds that the machine makes, it may not be perfect for every patient. However, recent developments have allowed for more “open” designs to try to accommodate claustrophobic patients. Due to the powerful magnets that must be used, patients with metal implants cannot be put into an MRI machine. The non-invasive and relatively safe nature of MRIs makes them useful in detecting tumors, inflammation, various neurological conditions, and heart and blood vessel abnormalities.
Originally called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, MRI scans work by exposing atomic nuclei to strong magnetic fields. These nuclei then absorb this energy and emit radiofrequency (RF) energy which can be picked up by a receiver. Hydrogen atoms are specifically targeted due to their abundance in the human body. The contrast in the resulting image is due to the differing rates at which the tissues’ nuclei are excited, return to their equilibrium state, and release their energy. This process of returning from an excited state to equilibrium is referred to as the relaxation process. Additionally, a more pronounced contrast can be achieved by using “contrast agents” which possess specific electromagnetic properties that allow for more detailed MRI images. Gadolinium-based contrast agents are the most common contrast agents used.
MRI System Techniques, Methods, & Costs
MRI machines may differ slightly from model to model, but all of them consist of a strong magnet, shim coils for correcting shifts in the magnetic field, a gradient system that localizes the magnetic resonance signal, and an RF system. Most MRI systems operate at 1.5 Tesla (T), but some commercial systems function at a range of intensities from .2 to 7 T. The superconducting magnets that are used in clinical MRI machines generate so much heat that they need to be cooled with liquid helium. MRIs with lower magnetic field strengths, however, use permanent magnets and do not require such cooling. These MRI machines have a more open design and are used for patients suffering from claustrophobia. Ultra-low field MRI systems that operate at the microtesla-to-millitesla range exist and make use of sensitive superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs). Depending on their function and what they are scanning or scanning for, MRI devices can vary the radiation pulse settings to create specific images.
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA)
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Imaging blood vessels poses issues due to their size and delicate makeup. Magnetic resonance angiography, or MRA, describes a group of non-invasive techniques used to look at blood vessels. MRA techniques can be classified as either being flow-dependent or flow-independent. Flow-independent angiography involves non-contrast-enhanced methods that do not require high blood flow rates. By utilizing the differences in the relaxation rates and chemical shifts it can generate an accurate image without contrast agents. Flow-dependent techniques are all based on the flow of blood through the body. Since most tissue in the body is static and blood flows around and through the static structures, an image can be constructed that distinguishes the blood vessels from the surrounding tissue. Flow-dependent techniques can be separated into two main categories:
- Phase-contrast: Also called PC-MRA, phase-contrast is used to determine flow velocities. Subatomic particles have magnetic properties called spin. When stationary, the spin of nuclei has no measurable phase shift. However, when moving, there is a measurable net phase shift. PC-MRA utilizes this to distinguish flowing blood from static tissue.
- Time-of-flight: As tissue is exposed to excessive RF they can become magnetically saturated, affecting their emitted radiofrequency. Since blood is continuously flowing it does not become as magnetically saturated as the surrounding tissue. This means that the flowing blood emits more radiofrequency waves, distinguishing it from the static tissue. It is alternatively known as inflow angiography.
Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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Due to the sensitive nature of the tissue around the heart, non-invasive imaging techniques are important to determining the health of the heart. Cardiac MRI is similar to conventional MRI, but by utilizing echocardiography gating and high temporal resolution, it has been specifically tuned to image the heart and the myocardium, the heart’s muscular tissue. This method is used primarily for diagnostic purposes and surgical planning of congenital heart disease. It is also used for various other heart-related issues and some of the ongoing areas of study include assessment of myocardial ischemia, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies. Within cardiac MRI, different techniques are used to look at specific functions within the heart.
- Cine imaging: To properly assess the health of a heart, observing it while it is beating is Important. A single image can tell us a lot about the heart, but a video can tell us more. Cine imaging or cine-cardiac motion studies provide this by taking multiple images during the cardiac cycle and stitching them together to create a video. Using balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP), cine sequences are able to obtain high contrast cardiac images for a very detailed look at the heart while it is beating.
- Late gadolinium enhancement: By injecting a gadolinium-based contrast agent into the patient intravenously, higher contrast between normal and infarcted or dead myocardium can be achieved. The rate that the tissue or muscles of the heart accumulate and washout the gadolinium depends on myocardial blood supply, hematocrit, renal function, and what type of disease is present in the tissue.
- Perfusion: Also known as cardiac MRI perfusion or stress cardiac magnetic resonance perfusion, perfusion is an imaging test used to detect coronary artery diseases. It consists of using the stress/rest protocol which calls for the patient to be put under some stress and observe them as they come down from that stress. Normally this is done by putting the patient on a bicycle or treadmill, however, this is not possible in an MRI. For perfusion, adenosine is used as the stressor to induce ischemia, or blood restriction. The images of the patient are then compared to those of a healthy heart under the same circumstances to determine the health of the patient’s heart.
Functional MRI (fMRI)
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Neural activity in the brain is directly correlated to the amount of blood flow in that area of the brain. fMRI looks at the blood flow in the brain to determine brain activity. Specifically, fMRI uses blood oxygen level-dependent contrast (BOLD) to look at variations in blood flow, or hemodynamic response, in the brain. BOLD analyzes areas of low and high oxygenated blood to look at how the brain acts under specific circumstances. It is a non-invasive technique that does not require injections or any ingestibles. A common procedure for fMRI is to have the subject perform specific tasks while lying under the scanner. As the subject thinks through the task their brain activates and the MRI scanner picks up the corresponding activity. The scans are then compared to scans taken while the subject is at rest to determine how much brain activity occurred. Spacial, temporal, and linear addition from multiple activations are all observed. It does have some clinical application but it is mainly useful for clinical research. Resting-State fMRI is a newer technique that maps brain activity while the subject is resting or in a task-negative state. Other newer methods are also being studied that use different biomarkers than BOLD signals.
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One limitation to cine imaging is that it takes 5-10 seconds to collect the needed images and requires the patient to hold their breath. Real-time MRI or real-time cine imaging can take images in less than 1 second per slice and does not require the patient to hold their breath. In conventional MRI scanning, k-space or spatial frequencies in magnetic resonance images are scanned, however, this is very time-consuming. Real-time MRI sacrifices this special resolution to increase the speed that the images can be captured. Early iterations employed eco-planar methods to achieve this. Recently advances have been made to remove these shortcomings by using iterative reconstruction algorithms. This technique is able to get a temporal resolution of 20-30 milliseconds which is a marked improvement. It also offers rapid, continuous data acquisition and does not suffer from undersampling, achieving high-quality images with 5-10% of the data needed for normal MRI reconstruction.
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The question of consciousness has remained somewhat elusive in medical terms. Though there is a hard line and requirements to determine if a patient is alive or dead are very clear, consciousness can be much more ambiguous. Unconsciousness is roughly defined as having the inability to report subjective experience. Do patients that undergo anesthesia or more enduring states of unconsciousness have or lack markers that we can measure and observe? A team of scientists may have uncovered this very answer. This diverse group published a paper in February of 2019 that outlines possible neural patterns that may indicate various levels of consciousness.
The team looked at 159 subjects spanning four independent research sites and recorded their fMRI data. This data was then compared against fMRI data from both patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome and patients in minimally conscious states. Their fMRI BOLD signals were taken across 42 brain regions and revealed four distinct patterns of brain activity. Two patterns, in particular, were shared equally across all three groups and may indicate it as a transitional state. They concluded that these patterns show great promise of being markers for conscious and unconscious brain states and should be looked at further to determine if they are. Additionally, they postulated that this knowledge may give us the ability to affect patients in either unconscious or conscious states.
MRI machines are powerful tools that can help paint a more complete picture of a person’s health. When needed, acquiring one should not leave you financially debilitated. Whether you’re looking to leaseback an MRI scanner or lease an NMR machine, we can help. Complete our online contact form or give us a call at (510) 982-6552 to discuss your equipment leasing needs in further detail.
We Offer MRI Leases to Fit Every Need
This off-balance sheet financing structure provides three options at the end of the term. The lessee has the option to return the equipment to the lessor, renew at a discounted rate, or purchase the instrument for the fair market value. Monthly payments are also 100% tax deductible which yields additional monetary savings.
If you recently bought equipment, Excedr can offer you cash for your device and convert your purchase into a long-term rental. This is called a sale leaseback. If you’ve paid for equipment within the last ninety days, we can help you recoup your investment and allow you to make low monthly payments. This also frees up money in your budget rather than tying it down to a fixed asset.
MRI Machine Manufacturers & Models on the Market
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SIGNA Voyager, SIGNA Explorer, SIGNA Creator, SIGNA Premier, SIGNA Architect, SIGNA Artist, SIGNA Pioneer, Legacy SIGNA Center, SIGNA PET/MR with QuantWorks, SIGNA Lift, Optima MR450W GEM, Optima MR450W, Discovery MR750W GEM, Discovery MR750W
Ingenia Elition 3.0T, Ingenia Ambition 1.5T,Ingenia MR-OR
Canon Medical Systems Co.:
Vantage Galan 3T, Vantage Orian 1.5T, Vantage Titan 1.5T, Vantage Elan 1.5T
Hitachi Healthcare Americas:
Echelon Oval 1.5T, Echelon Smart 1.5T, Oasis 1.2T
BioSpec, BioSpec 3T, PharmaScan, Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI)
Neusoft Medical Systems:
NeuMR 1.5T, NSM-S15P, SuperStar 0.35T
United Imaging Healthcare:
uPMR 790, uMR 790, uMR 780, uMR 570, uMR OMEGA
G-scan Brio, O-scan, O-scan premium, O-scan Light, S-scan
MagVue 0.33T, Magvue ELITE 1.5T
PICA, PICA Smart, MICA, EMMA, NEONA, MONA
Aurora Healthcare US Corp:
Embrace Neonatal MRI
i_Magnate 1.5T, i_Open 0.5T, i_Open 0.4T, i_Open 0.36T, i_Open 0.3T
Shenzhen Anke High-tech Co., Ltd.:
Openmark 5000, Openmark 4000, Openmark III, SuperMark 1.5T
MacroMR, MicroMR, MesoQMR, NMI20
Upright Multi-Position MRI
Pure Devices GmbH</P
Shenzhen Basda Medical Apparatus Co., LTD:
Polar 35, Polar 50