3T, 1.5T: What Does this Mean?

Water mol­e­cules are the most abun­dant mol­e­cules in the human body, so these are the very mol­e­cules the MRI machine uses to cre­ate an image. Water mol­e­cules con­sist of oxy­gen and hydro­gen atoms, and the core of a hydro­gen atom-its nucle­us-is a sin­gle pro­ton. Pro­tons have a basic, inher­ent prop­er­ty called nuclear spin caus­ing them to spin like a gyro­scope or a top. Because the pro­tons also have an elec­tri­cal charge, the spin makes them act like tiny mag­nets. A mag­net­ic field, which is mea­sured in Tes­la (T), will make these spin­ning pro­tons wob­ble, like a spin­ning top that isn’t quite ver­ti­cal. The stronger the mag­net­ic field, the faster the wobble.

Pri­or to the 3 Tes­la machines, the stan­dard high-field MRI scan­ner was 1.5 Tes­la. A 3T (Tes­la) Sys­tem gen­er­ates a mag­net­ic field that is twice the strength of 1.5T machine and 10 to 15 times the strength of low-field, or Open”, MRI scan­ner. The mag­net­ic field pro­duced by a 3T scan­ner yields excep­tion­al anatom­ic detail. The increased image clar­i­ty pro­duced by a 3T MRI is par­tic­u­lar­ly ben­e­fi­cial for patho­log­i­cal con­di­tions involv­ing the brain, spine, and small bones such as fin­gers, hands, feet and toes. It also allows us the abil­i­ty to do more spe­cial­ized exams such as those of the prostate and the small bowel.

Many exams can be equal­ly imaged on either a 1.5 Tes­la or 3 Tes­la scan­ners. When sched­ul­ing your MRI with DMG, you can be assured that our knowl­edge­able sched­ulers will sched­ule your exam on the most diag­nos­ti­cal­ly appro­pri­ate scan­ner, unless your doc­tor spec­i­fies scan­ner field strength or you have an implant that pro­hibits you from being scanned on a 3T magnet.

Health Topics: