Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant
Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant

Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.

Blog | Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant | March 23, 2012

3T Reaches High-Field Price-Point

It’s been nearly a decade since vendors first floated the idea of 3T as the new clinical benchmark in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Finally, it looks like their prediction is about to come true, but it wasn’t clinical advances that paved the way. Those were achieved years ago. It was an economic breakthrough in the form of a brand new MR scanner priced at about what 1.5T systems were a few years ago, namely, Siemens’ Magnetom Spectra, which was launched a few weeks ago at the European Congress of Radiology.

Usually vendors launch new imaging products, especially MR scanners, months earlier and on the other side of the Atlantic at the RSNA meeting, a fact that Christiane Bernhardt, director of Outbound Marketing for Siemens MR, acknowledged. More important than the venue is the product, which is scheduled to begin shipping in the second half of this year for a price “half of what 3T systems cost five years ago,” Bernhardt told me.

My memory recalls a price-point back then of about $3 million, which Bernhardt said was a little bit high. So, by the powers of interpolation, this new system will go for under $1.5 million. It’s probably not a coincidence that 1.5T scanners were commanding this price when they were at the top of the MR food chain. And purchase price is only part of the story.

Bernhardt and Spectra product manager Richard Winkelmann, Ph.D., talked repeatedly about the low TCO (total cost of ownership) that accompanies this product. Underpinning the savings is an undersized bore with a 60 cm diameter, versus the 70 cm that has come to characterize MR scanners of late. Those extra 10 cm mean less expensive gradient coils for one thing, and a more compact design for another, which translate into a lower cost to manufacture and less space required for installation. TCO is further minimized by the zero helium boil-off, which puts a cap on energy costs, Bernhardt noted.

None of these cost-cutting measures degrade the clinical capability of the system, she said. Spectra is built on the same technology platform as Siemens' Skyra 3T and Aera 1.5T systems, which were introduced a little over a year ago at RSNA 2010. Therefore, Spectra supports all the same applications, according to Bernhardt. It is also equipped with Tim 4G, the company’s fourth-generation total imaging matrix, and the company’s Dot (day optimizing throughput) technologies.

“The key points are quality and usability,” she said, giving a nod to the affordability of the system.

“Really it’s this combination that makes the system unique,” Winkelmann added.

And while the name implies that the Magnetom Spectra is capable of MR spectroscopy – and it is, they assured me – this particular application is not why the name was chosen. Pressed for the underlying rationale, Bernhardt said, “because it’s ‘spectracular.’"

Who says Germans don’t have a sense of humor?

Related Content

#COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #SARScov2 New studies use SIRD model to forecast COVID-19 spread; examine patient CT scans to correlate clinical features with mortality

Fig 1. A sample scoring on CT images of a 63-year-old woman from mortality group demonstrated a total score of 63. It was calculated as: for upper zone (A), 3 (consolidation) × 3 (50–75% distribution) × 2 (both right and left lungs) + 2 (ground glass opacity) ×1 (< 25% distribution) × 2 (both right and left lungs); for middle zone (B), 3 (consolidation) × 2 (25–50% distribution) × 2 (both right and left lungs) + 2 (ground glass opacity) × 2 (25–50% distribution) × 2 (both right and left lungs); for lower zone (C), 3 (consolidation) × (2 (25–50% distribution of the right lung) + 3 (50–75% distribution of the left lung)) + 2 (ground glass opacity) × (2 (25–50% distribution of the right lung) + 1 (< 25% distribution of the left lung)) Yuan et al, 2020 (CC BY 4.0)

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | April 01, 2020
April 1, 2020 — A new study, ...
#COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #SARScov2 Company emphasizes faster, more advanced CTs, making imaging easier for COVID-19 patients
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | April 01, 2020
April 1, 2020 — United Imaging, a global leader in advanc
#COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #SARScov2 A brief article from Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, published today in Radiology, reports on the first presumptive case of COVID-19–associated acute necrotizing hemorrhagic encephalopathy.

A, Image from noncontrast head CT demonstrates symmetric hypoattenuation within the bilateral medial thalami (arrows). B, Axial CT venogram demonstrates patency of the cerebral venous vasculature, including the internal cerebral veins (arrows). C, Coronal reformat of aCT angiogram demonstrates normal appearance of the basilar artery and proximal posterior cerebral arteries. Image courtesy of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 31, 2020
March 31, 2020 — A brief article fr
#COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #SARScov2 Doctor in our hospital is using this intelligent system for accurate diagnosis

Doctor in our hospital is using this intelligent system for accurate diagnosis. (Photo: Business Wire)

News | Artificial Intelligence | March 31, 2020
March 31, 2020 — The Intelligent Evalua...
#COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #SARScov2
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 31, 2020
March 31, 2020 — In a...
AI tool predicts which patients newly infected with COVID-19 will eventually develop severe respiratory disease #COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #SARScov2
News | Artificial Intelligence | March 31, 2020
March 31, 2020 — An artificial intelligence tool accurately predicted which patients newly infected with the...
RSNA's open data repository will compile images and correlative data to create a comprehensive source for COVID-19 research and education efforts #COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #SARScov2
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 30, 2020
March 30, 2020 — The medical imaging community around the world is uniting to help address the...
Phase III response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) CARES Act signed into law #CARESAct #COVID19 #Coronavirus #2019nCoV #Wuhanvirus #SARScov2
Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 28, 2020 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
On March 27, the House of Representatives approved a historic $2
AI vendor Infervision's InferRead CT Pneumonia software uses artificial intelligence-assisted diagnosis to improve the overall efficiency of the radiology department. It is being developed in China as a high sensitivity detection aid for novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19). #COVID19 #coronavirus #SARScov2

AI vendor Infervision's InferRead CT Pneumonia software uses artificial intelligence-assisted diagnosis to improve the overall efficiency of the radiology department. It is being developed in China as a high sensitivity detection aid for novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19).

Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 27, 2020 | Jilian Liu, M.D., HIMSS Greater China
An older couple walked into the Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine near their neigh