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11/19/13 news article

Dayton Children's to implement the regions only 3T MRI

machine will significantly improve imaging capabilities in the Dayton region

Dayton Children’s Hospital will be implementing a new 3T MRI scanner that will bring new functionality and clearer images to the Dayton region. This new scanner is the region’s first 3T MRI scanner to be implemented.  An MRI is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the body's organs and structures.


The “T” in 3T MRI stands for “Tesla” which refers to the strength of the magnet used to produce the diagnostic images. The hospital is currently using a 1.5T MRI scanner and by implementing the 3T MRI, the radiologists will be able to produce images with twice the quality and clarity as the current scanner. This level of clarity can help to find subtle abnormalities that a 1.5T scanner is unable to detect.

“The 3T MRI will significantly improve our imaging capabilities in the Dayton region,” explains Elizabeth Ey, MD, medical director of medical imaging at Dayton Children’s. “The strength of the magnet will produce images that will enable our team to provide greater imaging detail than our current scanner can provide.  This will help our team  find abnormalities we could not demonstrate previously, allowing better and safer treatment options for our patients,” says Ey.

The 3T MRI not only brings a stronger magnet, but also brings new capabilities to the region such as “functional MRI” technology.  This technology allows our experts to localize areas of brain activity  by asking a patient to perform a certain tasks (such as tapping a finger, looking at pictures, or listening to sounds). The new scanner can detect minute changes in the blood oxygen level in the areas of the brain activated by the task.    This new technology is not only great for the children in the region but also for scientists and researchers in the Dayton area working to understand the causes of brain diseases and implementing state of the art procedures for improving cognitive performance.

“The 3 Tesla MRI scanner at Dayton Children's Hospital will be a boon to the local neuroscience community. Neuroscientists using the 3T in collaboration with the neurology and radiology departments at Dayton Children's will be able to see the anatomy, connectivity, and activity of the brain in ways that are on par with the best facilities in the nation,” says Michael P. Weisend, PhD,Senior Research Scientist at The Wright State Research Institute.  “The future is brighter for children with brain diseases in the Miami Valley as a result of this investment by Dayton Children's,” said Weisend.

Dayton Children’s performed over 4,000 MRIs last year on children from the tiniest infants to full-grown teenagers.  MRI is used to detect a variety of conditions, including problems of the brain, spinal cord, skeleton, chest, lungs, abdomen, pelvis, wrists, hands, ankles, and feet. In some cases, it can provide clear images of body parts that can't be seen as well with an X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound. MRI is particularly valuable for diagnosing problems with the joints, eyes, ears, heart, and circulatory system.  Dayton Children’s will continue to use the 1.5T MRI scanner in addition to the 3T. Some patients are better served with a 1.5T magnet depending on their condition or implants in the body.  The new scanner is set to be operational in late January 2014.

The GE Healthcare Discovery* MR750w 3.0T[1] scanner was purchased from GE for $1.9 million and was funded in part by the Dayton Children’s Foundation Board.  Dayton Children’s Foundation Board allocates donated funds every year for programs, research, advocacy and technology to benefit patients and support the mission of our hospital. The role of the Foundation Board is to help ensure the hospital has the resources it needs to provide the very best care for our children.

[1]The magnet in an MRI is rated using a unit of measure called Tesla. A 3 Tesla system creates a strong magnetic field which is used to produce stunning images of soft tissue.

For more information, contact: 

Grace Jones

Phone: 937-641-3666

Elizabeth Ey, MD

division chief radiology / medical imaging
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