As an orthopedic practitioner approaching the MRI scanner marketplace, one technical consideration you’ll encounter is the gradient slew rate. Slew rates affect both the scan speed and image quality of an MRI scanner and, without delving into a lot of tech-speak: the higher the slew rate, the faster the scan and clearer the image.
So, you'll want the highest slew rate you can get, right? Not necessarily.
High-End Slew Rates
High-end slew rates generally only come into play for cardiology or neurology. There are some extra costs involved in getting a higher slew rate and if you intend to use your MRI for orthopedic studies, you can most likely forego those costs.
Orthopedic MRI Slew Rates That Work
At present, the majority of MRI scanners that are being purchased for orthopedic use have a 1.5T magnet and operate at a gradient slew rate of at least 125. This rate offers more of the speed you want and actually more image detail than is needed for bone imaging.
For 1.5T systems a slew rate as low as 75 is sufficient for orthopedic studies in terms of detail, but most MRI units operating at that rate are approaching end of life. Opting for one of these machines would offer some up-front cost savings, but might complicate support and parts purchasing in the long run.
For more information about great orthopedic MRI systems, check out our Orthopedic Equipment Buyer's Guide below.