Image Quality

The most important decision when choosing an imaging facility is the quality of the images your doctor will recieve. A high image quality translates to a more accurate diagnosis. There are varieties of imaging facility choices, but the image quality is drastically different between the facilities.

To see the quality images from Big Sky Diagnostic Imaging, click the link below.

Image quality depends on two key factors. The first is the technology being used to create the images. The second is the technologist operating the equipment. Big Sky Diagnostic Imaging is dedicated to having the best of both factors, with the most advanced technology in the clinical market partnered with the highly trained and certified radiological technologists.

MRI Image Quality

With Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, the image quality is directly related to the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR). The higher the SNR is, the better quality and resolution the image is.

MRI Basics

MRI is a physics-driven modality that uses the body's abundant H+ (hydrogen proton) for image taking purposes. Hydrogen is plentiful in the body's soft tissues, as hydrogen is an element of the water molecule (the body's most abundant substance). All MRI systems use a magnet and radio frequencies (waves) to produce images.

When hydrogen protons are placed in a magnet, they either line up with or against the magnetic field. The protons that line up with the field are used for imaging. The magnetic strength of the MRI system determines how many protons line up--the more powerful the magnet, the more protons available for imaging.

Once the protons are lined up, radio frequency manipluation is used to gain information (signal) from the protons. This is where the concept of the signal to noise ratio (SNR) comes into play. With more signal from the hydrogen protons, the SNR is higher meaning that there is a more prominent aquisition of good signal rather than bad signal (noise).

3.0T - Better SNR, Better Pictures

When more signal is available for image taking, image slices can be thinner, allowing for higher resolution images. On all studies, Big Sky Diagnostic Imaging uses slice thicknesses of 3mm or less with a high imaging matrix to caputure more anatomic detail. Thin image slices provide higher resolution for small anatomical structures, ultimately helping diagnose problems sooner and easier.

With a basic understanding of how MRI works, here is an interesting fact about Big Sky's 3.0T magnet. There is a 30-60% increase in SNR using 3.0T magnets when compared to 1.5T magnets. With that increase between 1.5T and 3.0T (essentially double the magnetic strength), just think about the increase in SNR or image quality when compared to Low Field magnets such as "Open" MRI systems.