By OMAR FORD
Medical Device Daily Staff Writer
Toshiba American Medical Systems (Tustin, California) said that it has developed a flexible coil system that could improve MR exam efficiency and image quality. The firm reported earlier this week, that its 16-element MR coils has received clearance from the FDA.
According to Toshiba, the 16-element flexible coils are beneficial because they conform more closely to the anatomy, which in turn greatly improving signal-to-noise ratio. The coils are available in medium and large sizes and are ideally suited for general orthopedic and body imaging of large and small patients alike.
"These flexible coils are about the size of a license plate on a car," Stuart Clarkson, director, MR Business Unit, Toshiba told Medical Device Daily. "Historically coils and MR have only worked if you wrapped them around the anatomy. Imagine you are imaging an elbow. That's been a very challenging area to image well. So having a flexible coil to wrap around the elbow is very useful to image that particular joint."
Toshiba pointed out that, where standard coils are not optimal, these newly cleared flexible coils can be used for general-purpose as well as head, neck and spine imaging. Large patients are not forced into or pinched by the hard plastic of traditional rigid coils. Image quality for small patients is not compromised due to fixed, oversized coil housings.
"The fact that it can work either wrapped around the anatomy or laying flat is very beneficial for the versatility of the coil," he said.
The coils were developed in partnership with NeoCoil (Pewaukee, Wisconsin) a company that specializes in radio frequency design for MRI coils.
"We have a relationship where NeoCoil has been doing some product development for us," he said. "They've actually rolled these coils out from the manufacturing line."
"The 16-element MR coils feature a flexible design, enabling clinicians to use the coils for various exam types," said Steve Nichols, COO, NeoCoil. "The light-weight coils come in two sizes and wrap around a patient's anatomy, accommodating patients of various sizes and providing greater patient comfort."
Toshiba said that the device will be used in conjunction with the Vantage Titan 1 .5T, which is on the verge of gaining approval.
"The FDA approval on these coils is very timely because we're also very close to having FDA approval on our new Titan 1.5T product," Clarkson said. "We anticipate sort of the first installments of those happening in the next six to eight weeks here in the United States."
Clarkson added that the company will also be selling the coils overseas. In the future, he said that the company could be looking at trying to get additional indications for the coils from FDA.
"We're looking at using the coils to generate a pediatric head neck and spine array," he said. "So [we will] combine these coils in a configuration that will actually be mounted on a mobilizing device for children. In the world of MRI today there's really no good pediatric head, neck and spine coil in the market. Because we can wrap it around a piece of anatomy such as a pediatric head and then run it in conjunction with another flexible coil that's lying flat we can make ourselves a pediatric head, neck, and spine coil. We're actually just investigating that and that will be an FDA claim we're submitting in the near future. That's part of the road map that we have for those coils as well."
Clarkson added, "the new 16-element coils will continue to provide comfortable exams while improving image quality for accurate diagnoses."
Most recently, Toshiba reported that another one of its imaging offerings, the Aidr 3-D had positive results in a recent study. The study evaluated Toshiba's Aidr 3-D with the Aquilion ONE CT system to lower dose while maintaining high image quality across multiple CT exams (Medical Device Daily, June 20, 2012).
In the study, St. Elizabeth Healthcare (Edgewood, Kentucky), monitored a group of patients who were imaged prior to Aidr 3-D and required follow-up CTs after the installation of Aidr 3-D. When comparing the exams, initial findings revealed Aidr 3-D's ability to significantly reduce dose across multiple CT exam types, including chest, abdomen and pelvis, while still maintaining high-quality images for diagnoses.
Published August 13, 2012