But the advantages of digital magnetic resonance go beyond the time scale – the technique also represents a great step forward in cancer staging. “One of the novelties of this equipment is that it incorporates functional full-body exams using diffusion-weighted sequences allowing the spread of the tumor to be assessed and presenting multiple indications for other pathologies, such as multiple myeloma or lymphoma”, explains the specialist in diagnostic radiology from MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid.
Another improvement is the size of the gantry, i.e. the space through which the patient gets onto the table. The unit at MD Anderson Madrid has a 70 cm gantry, which is double the size of an average person. “In addition to increased comfort and a feeling of there being more space for the patient, particularly for larger people, the wider opening for the patient means we can carry out certain examinations, of the hand or wrist for instance, without having to get into unnatural, uncomfortable positions”, points out Dr. Garcia Prado.
Moreover, digital MRI makes it possible to carry out advanced neurological examinations, like cerebral tractography, mainly applied in oncology in planning central nervous system surgery. As a result, the nerve pathways are preserved, thus avoiding irreversible damage during surgery.
Greater precision in detecting cancer
The digital MRI equipment at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid incorporates the new ‘M Dixon’ technology, which allows fat to be suppressed while the image is acquired. So, the fat signal in the tissue to be studied is eliminated. In this way the degree of precision in detecting cancer is much higher.
That increase in precision has a very clear application in the case of breast cancer. “The Digital MRI Unit at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid has seven receptor channels, thanks to which we obtain higher special resolution in the images and a marked improvement in temporal resolution. All this adds up to improved functional characterization of the tumor”, concludes Dr. Garcia Prado.