COVER STORY
MAGNETIC RESONANCE

THE FIRST MRI system equipped
with Tim Technology.
 

A Quantum Leap in MR Tomography:

Tim [76x32]

MRI is about to become radically faster and more flexible, enabling entirely new applications thanks to a powerful new partner: Tim - Total imaging matrix.
By Carol Milano, Dr. Christoph Zindel, M.D.

This fall, Siemens will be introducing Tim, a revolutionary new addition to the traditional MRI process. Tim, the unique Total imaging matrix technology, brings MR tomography greater performance than it has ever had before. In the past, MR technology was limited to array coils offering a maximum of only eight receiving channels. Until Siemens introduced the unique IPA (Integrated Panoramic Array) concept in 1998, the possibility of varying the combination of coils for scanning larger areas of the body has been very limited or even nonexistent. Now, for the first time in the history of MR, the user can individually select the specific exams for the desired anatomy - and no longer has to deal with patient repositioningor coil reconfigurations.Tim features

TIM REDEFINES the term "freedom in MRI" by taking a quantum leap beyond the boundaries of array coils to a breakthrough matrix coil concept.

Whole-body Functionality with [76 x 32]

UP TO 76 seamlessly integrated coil elements and up to 32 RF channels combined to create one Total imaging matrix.

Tim enables MR users to freely and flexibly combine up to 76 seamlessly integrated coil elements and up to 32 RF channels to one Total imaging matrix. No manual coil reconfiguration during the exam. No patient repositioning either. Giving them total, multi-channel whole-body imaging, seamlessly. If during the course of an exam unexpected findings appear, the anatomical region of interest can be expanded immediately. Tim enables streamlined true whole-body imaging with a total field of view (FoV) of up 205 cm (6' 9'') - in surface coil quality and with up to 100 percent increase in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Tim opens up a whole new world of clinical applications, from whole-body to local MRI. New approaches for cancer staging, visualization of systemic diseases like rheumatic or vessel diseases, or MR angiography. Radiologists will see more than ever before: detailed morphology, leading to an unparalleled level of confidence in all physician's diagnoses while at the same time shortening exam times and streamlining workflow.

GERMAN Swim world champion 2003, Hannah Stockbauer, in a whole-body MRI scan.

Hannah Stockbauer

as many as 76 (!) seamlessly integrated coil elements, along with exactly 32 independent receiver channels. These can be used flexibly in any combination to create a whole-body imaging matrix, supporting a total field of view of 205 cm (6' 9''). Conventional metastases evaluation of the whole body, however, requires changing coils and repositioning the patient for each anatomical area of interest, e.g. head, thoracic, abdominal, pelvis, etc. With the introduction of Tim, workflow and patient comfort level are vastly improved by simplifying the MR process and shortening examination times. Both the matrix coils and the patient need only be positioned once for all desired exams, as multiple channels allow a unique and almost unlimited scanning flexibility.

Scan Times Cut in Half

Usually, even with the existing coil concept, only about a 150-cm field of view could be scanned with surface coils and a sufficient signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). For whole-body coverage, the patient needs to be repositioned, i.e. the coil setup has to be reconfigured. The only alternative, up to now, has been to perform whole-body MR imaging without surface coils, i.e. just with the integrated body coil, which, however, significantly reduces image quality. Thus, MRI technicians have always had to choose in the past between total body coverage and adequate image quality. Tim erases that difficult decision by allowing up to 100 percent more SNR. The result: up to 205 cm (6' 9'') can now be scanned at maximum SNR - requiring only 12 minutes. That's a phenomenal time reduction of more than 50 percent! Tim can help making accurate diagnoses, even for extremely complex imaging needs. Tim's flexibility means that if something unexpected is spotted, the region of interest can be expanded instantly, without any repositioning of the patient or any coil reconfigurations.

Unlimited Parallel Imaging

Tim's reach is virtually boundless. Today, socalled Parallel Imaging (Parallel Acquisition Technique, PAT) already allows faster acquisition with high image quality. This is a distinct advantage, for instance, in MRIs of moving organs, because motion artefacts are significantly reduced or even eliminated. Unfortunately, the disadvantages of PAT include limited fields of view, usually based on the specific PAT coils required, and a finite number of receiver channels. Here, Tim shows its real added value. It removes all those negatives by allowing Parallel Imaging along the patient's entire body in a total field of view of 205 cm. The very highest PAT factors are now available in all three dimensions: from head to feet, anterior to posterior, and left to right. That means that the highest acquisition speeds and image resolutions can be achieved without the need for any specific PAT coils.

Intelligent Assistance

Tim goes even further to intelligently assist with MRIs: For the first time, it makes Parallel Imaging easy by recommending the maximum PAT factors for whichever application is selected. And the Tim Assistant helps finding the selected coil elements, correct patient position, and appropriate MR protocol, assuring the integrated Parallel Acquisition Technique (iPAT) configuration for each particular need. Siemens continues to uncompromisingly pursue its goal of truly optimizing workflow: With Tim's new Intelligent Coil Control, technicians can control all coils, both fixed and flexible, and their corresponding elements. This is all aimed at making Parallel Imaging easy and more efficient, as well as integrating it into the clinical routine. In addition, with iPAT, Siemens offers two forms of PAT: GRAPPA (Generalized Autocalibrating Partial Parallel Acquisition) and mSENSE (modified Sensitivity Encoding), thus increasing flexibility for the different requirements of MR applications. Thanks to Tim and its broad iPAT capabilities, outstanding image quality is achieved along with high-speed acquisition performance and improved SNR. Tim features three performance levels: the top-of-the-line Tim [76x32] (i.e. 76 seamlessly integrated coil elements and 32 receiver channels), which not only accommodates clinical routine and demanding research, but

High-speed PAT Factors in All 3 Dimensions

REDEFINED AND OPTIMIZED Parallel Imaging thanks to the new Total imaging matrix technology. With Tim, high-speed PAT factors (Parallel Acquisition Techniques) can be applied in all three dimensions. Supporting the highest acquisition speeds and image resolutions. Tim allows full iPAT functionality including iPAT2 with PAT factors up to 12. Highest image quality is provided by up to 100% more SNR for the most clinically exceptional and relevant images. And: no specific PAT coils are required. The Tim Assistant intelligently helps to make Parallel Imaging easy by recommending the appropriate PAT factors for the selected application.

is also open for all future applications, such as interventional procedures. Tim [76x18], with 18 anatomically optimized independent receiver channels, provides Parallel Imaging in the full 50-cm field of view, and Tim [32x8] for high-end clinical routine. There is a level for every need.

REDEFINING the concept of time: With Tim, matrix coils only need to be positioned once. This dramatically reduces patient set-up.

World Premiere

When and where can you meet Tim? Tim will make its debut at the 89th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiology Society of North America, beginning in Chicago on November 30. Also in November, the first Tim systems will be installed at key facilities in New York and Tčbingen, Germany. As part of a special publication on science and health innovations, Siemens recently used Tim technology to perform a whole-body scan on Hannah Stockbauer, one of the most successful female swimmers in German history. Hannah, 21, who won three gold medals this summer at the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, is currently doing an internship at Siemens.

The Benefits of Tim and MAGNETOM Avanto at a Glance

Clinical Benefits:

  • Outstanding image quality with up to 100 percent more SNR, for whole-body and local MR imaging
  • A total FoV of 205 cm can be scanned without any coil reconfigurations or patient repositioning
  • Excellent temporal resolution with the strongest gradients currently available in the industry
  • Unlimited Parallel Imaging seamlessly throughout the whole-body, and in all directions. No specific PAT coils required
  • True whole-body MR enables first-ever optimized visualization and staging of systemic diseases

Business Benefits:

  • More patients per day due to the highest workflow efficiency
  • More referrals due to greatly expanded MR services and applications
  • Attracting more technicians due to most advanced MR system
  • Less siting costs due to AudioComfort and less noise damping
  • Always state-of-the-art technology with the MAGNETOM Evolve program
  • More revenue with less operating costs, powerful return on investment

Patient Benefits:

  • Stress-free MRI with reduced exam time (patients need to be positioned only once, and a high-quality whole-body MRI can take as little as 12 minutes)
  • Virtually all applications can be performed feet first, thus reducing patient anxiety
  • Breath holding reduced by up to 50 percent
  • 97 percent less acoustic noise with Audioomfort
  • Less burden due to ultralight-weighted coils


EASIER FOR EVERYONE: With Tim nearly all MR procedures can be performed as feet-first exams.


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