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New MRI technique builds faster images

A new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique should help to reduce the time spent in the scanner by patients, as well as improving image quality.

The technique, which was developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, could play an important role in reducing MRI scan waiting lists, which have recently lengthened due to the growing number of older patients experiencing knee-related problems.

Rather than sweeping horizontally across the body to gather data, the new technique collects signals radially.

"We can essentially acquire data during the whole experiment, where in the (conventional) case, a lot of time was spent either prepping for the experiment or returning it to the steady state so that you could do the next experiment," said Walter Block, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and medical physics.

"What we're doing now is capable of a study that you can visualise in any plane in about the same time as people are doing one plane."

The resulting high-resolution 3D images are vital for helping patients and clinicians to understand the health condition quickly and help to ensure a more accurate diagnosis and suitable treatment options, according to Mr Block.

He added that the technique could also be adapted to image other parts of the body, such as the heart or the abdomen.

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