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Overcoming one of the biggest MR imaging challenges … scan time

HyperSense, an industry-first new high-speed MRI scanning technique, is making it possible to reduce scan time by 30-50%

HyperSense, the innovative software application, can be applied to most 3D applications for sequences in the brain, head & neck, spine, MSK, abdomen and pelvis

It takes about half an hour to scan a patient’s brain, shoulder, spine or knee inside a magnetic resonance (MRI) machine, as doctors look for any signs of injury or disease. That is quite a long time for someone to remain still inside the scanner – especially pediatric, claustrophobic or very ill patients.

In the world of imaging, scan time is a serious consideration for patients as well as for the clinicians and technologists performing the exam. Emitting no ionizing radiation, MRI is the preferred scanner for children and often is viewed as the gold standard technology when looking at brain trauma and soft tissue differentiation. “The longer a patient is in the scanner, the more likely they are to move around and affect image quality. The faster we can image, the more patients we can do,” said Dr. Melany Atkins of Fairfax Radiology.

“We have long discussed the need for a solution that would enable faster MRI scans without affecting the image quality” said Dr. Atkins.

HyperSense decreasing scan time in MSK. Images acquired on SIGNA Artist

HyperSense, an industry-first new high-speed MRI scanning technique, is making it possible to reduce scan time by 30-50% or increase spatial resolution depending upon the patient need. GE Healthcare has already made the application available on 1.5, 3T their newest and powerful ultra-premium 3.0T MRI, which has been enabling clinicians at academic institutions like UW Madison to see the brain and human body better than ever before.

The innovative software application, which can be applied to most 3D applications for sequences in the brain, head & neck, spine, MSK, abdomen and pelvis is already changing the experience for patients and improving the ability to get quality images for clinicians in a way previous technology has yet to do. “Up until the introduction of HyperSense, we haven’t seen anything that has solved the MRI scan time challenge,” said Dr. Atkins. “We use it for neuro, spine, all body, rectal cancer staging, pelvic tumors and more.”

HyperSense for high definition in a fraction of the time. Images acquired on SIGNA Architect.

To develop HyperSense, the researchers and engineers in GE Healthcare’s labs used an imaging technique that has been in the MRI research community for about ten years. Compressed Sensing (CS) as it’s called allows for an enormous acceleration of data acquisition in MR, but it had yet to be leveraged in this way for reduction of scan time or increased resolution.

“Think of it like acquiring one piece of a larger puzzle. From that one piece, you can make assumptions about what the other pieces would look like so you can understand what the image is before the puzzle is complete,” said Atkins. “The neighboring pieces are likely to look similar. Therefore, by gathering multiple puzzle pieces (or raw data) you can put the whole puzzle together much faster.”

Compressed Sensing uses abstract, prior knowledge about images to help accurately generate them from under sampled data

Faster scanning for patients means less time in the scanner. It also can help improve efficiency for clinicians and hospitals. With the pressures in the current healthcare environment, effective use of scanners can have significant savings.
Oftentimes with new imaging techniques, quite a bit of extra training is required to ensure those operating the scanner know how to properly use the new technique. “Our techs love it, the software is very easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of extra thought or training,” comments Atkins.

“There are constantly new [MRI] sequences and the physics of MRI is fascinating,” said Atkins. “I’m an MR person so I’m biased but it’s such a fantastic technology that can be so powerful. As we can image faster, [MRI] is going to only get better.”

To date, over 10,000 exams have been conducted on HyperSense around the globe since it was introduced at the end 2016 and the number rapidly grows every day.

 

**HyperWorks by GE Healthcare is a grouping of purchasable imaging applications (HyperSense, HyperCube and HyperBand) which can deliver higher spatial resolution images or reduced scan times on all body parts.
1. Lustig M et al. Compressed Sensing MRI. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine 2008.72-82.
2. Lustig M, Donoho D and Pauly JM. Sparse MR: The Application of Compressed Sensing for Rapid MR Imaging. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2007; 58: 1182-1192