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 | January 05, 2012

MR Patient Comfort Rings in the New Year

Think oval. That’s what you’re doing if you are Hitachi Medical. The company came out with a novel design for high-end magnetic resonance (MR) at the RSNA meeting a couple of months ago, a design that compresses the decades-old circle into an ellipse. The thinking is elementary. The human body is wider horizontally across the shoulders than it is vertically through the chest. Add to that the less than flattering fact that we tend to flatten out when we lie down, especially those of us over the age of 40. So why not add the room in the bore where it is most needed?

The 1.5T Hitachi Echelon Oval does that, laying claim to being the widest of the wide bores, at least along one plane. Horizontally, the Echelon Oval bore extends 74 cm — 4 more than competing circular wide bores. According to Hitachi, its oval is wide enough to fit the most and least athletic of us, while helping to calm the nearly claustrophobic.

Time will tell whether the oval will catch on — or even if it will hang on as an alternative to conventional wide bores. But that’s not really the point. More significant is that the Echelon Oval exists at all.

Hitachi led the open scanner revolution in the mid- to late 1990s. Today, the company is just one of two that offers a commercial system at true high-field, the 1.2T Hitachi Oasis ( The other is Philips with its 1T Panorama HFO ( 

The significance of the Echelon Oval is that, in releasing this oval-shaped wide bore, Hitachi — the pioneer of the open — concedes that 1.5T is beyond the grasp of the open architecture. This concession comes even as the MR community has moved on to 3T.

Together, these developments all but seal open MR as an anomaly on the timeline of MR. If a 1.5T cannot be developed as an open, an open 3T scanner is all but impossible, at least as a commercial development.

So it is with some sorrow in the passing of this grand venture in engineering that we must accept the fact that the open as a future technology is dead.

Long live the ring.

Related Content

Study Unveils Brain Changes During Extended Space Missions
News | Neuro Imaging | November 14, 2017
November 14, 2017 — More people today are poised to explore space than ever before; those who do will experience the
Synthetic CT Images Suitable for Prostate Cancer Radiotherapy Planning
News | Treatment Planning | November 14, 2017
Spectronic Medical announced that new data for their MRIPlanner software, generating synthetic computed tomography (sCT...
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 13, 2017
Aspect Imaging announced last week that it received CE marking for the neonatal-dedicated Embrace Neonatal Magnetic...
Hitachi Healthcare Highlights Benefits of High-Field Open MRI in New Supplement

Click here to view the supplement.

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 13, 2017
A new 24-page publication from Hitachi Healthcare details the benefits of High-Field Open MRI and is now available for...
Siemens Healthineers Introduces Share360 Tailored Service Portfolio
News | Imaging | November 10, 2017
November 10, 2017 — To address the specific needs of...
Johns Hopkins Researchers, Carestream Give Presentations on Medical Imaging Advances at RSNA
News | Digital Radiography (DR) | November 09, 2017
November 9, 2017 — Researchers from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Carestream Health scientists
3D CT image reconstruction of the thoracic organs and the heart using Philips software.
Sponsored Content | Webinar | Advanced Visualization | November 07, 2017
The CME webinar “Innovation and Success in 3D-inspired Development of the Business and Clinical Practice,” will take
Post-Concussion Brain Changes Persist for Pre-Teen Hockey Players
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 02, 2017
Young hockey players who have suffered concussions may still show changes in the white matter of the brain months after...
Siemens Healthineers Announces First U.S. Installation of Magnetom Vida 3T MRI Scanner
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 02, 2017
Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, recently became the first U...
Football Position and Length of Play Affect Brain Impact
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | October 31, 2017
Researchers have found that damage to white matter in the brains of former college and professional football players...
Overlay Init