One of the most oft-noted complaints from patients, when asked to get an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan, is about the noise. The MRI technology has immensely helped doctors get high-quality images of the brain and other soft tissue organs but the process of getting these images is discomforting and anxiety inducing.
The conventional MRI requires you to stay still inside the machine for 20 to 45 minutes (depending on the case) with the noise levels reaching up to 110-120 dB. To put in perspective, a live rock concert is between 108-114 dB, a drilling machine is 110 dB and thunder and lightning measures about 120 dB. Apart from patient discomfort, the extremely loud noise leads to verbal communication problems, difficulties in sedation and hearing impairment. It is an exceptionally frightening experience for children and the elderly.
For years, scientists and doctors have been trying to figure out a way to make the experience more comfortable. Up until 2013, the only way to decrease the noise was either use acoustic dampening materials (sound absorbing rooms, ear plugs) or degrade the performance of the MRI machine.
GE co-developed a proprietary technology in India known as Silent Scan for brain imaging, which reduces the noise of the MRI to the level of ambient noise in the room, thus allowing for a ‘silent’ scanning & maximal patient comfort.
Silent Scan technology uses fewer changes in the gradient excitation levels, which is directly related to the noise levels. The acoustic noise is eliminated by using a new 3D scanning and reconstruction technique called Silenz. In addition to this, there is the use of high fidelity MRI gradient and radio frequency (RF) system that significantly reduces the sound at the source.
There has been no effect on the image quality or time required for scanning between conventional and silent MRI. The best hospitals in India are investing in ‘silent’ MRI’s to ensure maximum comfort to their patients. You have to visit the best radiologist for a better diagnosis.