September 24, 2013 —GE Healthcare reported that Silent Scan, a revolutionary technology that dramatically quiets magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams, is now commercially available and growing in clinical adoption around the world. Silent Scan addresses one of the most significant impediments to patient comfort — excessive acoustic noise generated during an MRI scan. Conventional MRI scanners can generate noise in excess of 110 decibels, roughly equivalent to rock concerts and requiring ear protection. GE’s exclusive Silent Scan technology is designed to reduce MR scanner noise to ambient (background) sound levels and improve a patient’s MRI exam experience.
A sample of the noise level of the system is available online.
GE Healthcare has been obtaining user feedback on Silent Scan from several customers in the United States, including Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich. Mark DeLano of Spectrum Health was the first to implement the technology in the world as part of a research collaboration with GE Healthcare.
“The response from our patients has been very gratifying. They tell us that the Silent Scans are essentially silent compared to conventional MRI scans. This reduces their anxiety about the procedure. We are particularly looking forward to providing this to our pediatric patients, claustrophobic patients and our patients being scanned in the operating room where the noise of the traditional MRI can be disruptive. Better communication is better medicine. Silent Scan enables this — whether it is a parent comforting a child in the scanner or staff administering the exam,” said DeLano.
Noise is one of the major complaints from patients who undergo a MRI exam. Historically, medical manufacturers have addressed the noise issue by using a combination of acoustic dampening material or performance degradation to reduce the noise level. With Silent Scan, a radically new type of 3-D MR acquisition, in combination with proprietary high-fidelity gradient and RF system electronics, noise is not merely dampened; it is virtually eliminated at the source.
With Silent Scan, patients and families will be able to experience a more relaxing scanning environment even being able to converse during the scan. Silent Scan is available on GE’s 1.5T and 3.0T systems currently available for routine head examinations.