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MRI physics services

Our team of HCPC registered Clinical Scientists provides a wide range of expertise in MRI Physics. We offer MR Safety Expert advice to help centres comply with MHRA guidance, UK legislation and Good Clinical Practice guidelines. We assist with site planning and procurement for new or modified imaging units. We perform acceptance testing of newly installed MRI scanners. In addition, at CUH and Royal Papworth Hospital, we support research studies and clinical trials, providing advice on safety, protocol development and MR pulse sequence programming. We also offer teaching on both MR physics and safety topics and can assist with some informatics issues including retrieval and anonymisation of studies from PACS (subject to R&D and ethical approval).

Safety

We provide advice on implementation of the MHRA’s Safety Guidelines (opens in a new tab) for magnetic resonance imaging equipment in clinical use, including development and review of local rules, policies, standard operating procedures (SOPs), risk assessments and the management of MR units. We advise on safe scanning of patients with implantable medical devices. We can also perform safety audits.

Much of our safety advice is delivered through service level agreements (SLAs) between CUH and the other NHS trusts.

Acceptance testing

The MHRA strongly advises project teams to arrange for independent acceptance testing of new MR scanners by an MR Physicist. We provide acceptance testing independent of the manufacturer, as well as review and verification of the manufacturer’s performance specifications. This provides a baseline for further quality assurance and identifies any corrective action required before clinical use commences.

The acceptance testing includes confirmation of the location of the 0.5 mT magnetic field isocontour, evaluation of MR coils, a site safety review and imaging performance tests. Imaging tests include: signal to noise, distortion, EPI stability tests, spectroscopy tests, and analysis of parameters such as resolution, slice thickness and ghosting. We can also provide assessment of accelerated acquisition techniques such as deep learning image reconstruction or compressed sensing.

MRI scanner
Acceptance testing includes a review of manufacturer tests and independent imaging assessment via a range of standardised tests and test objects.

Commissioning and site planning

We have extensive experience providing advice on the siting, design, procurement and commissioning of new MRI services and scanners, including interventional MR and multi-nuclear systems. We can support users to ensure new MR systems meet their needs and provide the appropriate functionality.

Early involvement of MR Physics at the architectural planning stages of a building project can ensure that an MR facility design is appropriate and meets the relevant safety standards. This includes advice on site layout, access restrictions, static, time varying and RF magnetic field safety. We can also provide advice on the procurement of new MRI systems or new hardware / software features

MRI site plan
MRI site plan showing the MR controlled access area and the MR environment that contains the 0.5 mT isofield contour in accordance with MHRA safety guidelines for magnetic resonance imaging equipment in clinical use (2021).

Quality assurance

We have a wide range of MR test phantoms and analysis software for specialist applications and research. We can help set-up independent quality assurance testing programmes for clinical sites or tailored to individual research studies. QA programmes can be modified to meet individual requirements, including testing duration and frequency.

Multi-coil quality assurance showing Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) images for an 8-channel breast coil
Multi-coil quality assurance showing Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) images for an 8-channel breast coil. Images were derived from the localiser and can provide an easy check of hardware performance for clinical and research studies.

Accelerated acquisition techniques

We are able to provide advice and guidance on the use of new accelerated acquisition techniques. Our centre has worked to optimize clinical imaging using GE Healthcare’s AIR™ Recon deep learning image reconstruction algorithm to achieve faster protocols with higher image resolution, SNR and reduced truncation artifact.

Single sagittal slice from a 3D volumetric knee examination
Single sagittal slice from a 3D volumetric knee examination reconstructed using conventional (left) and deep learning (right). The deep learning reconstructed image took half the time to acquire compared to the conventional reconstruction and demonstrates better image quality.

Research and innovation

The MR Physics team welcome discussions regarding the use of MRI in research projects. We have extensive experience of MRI methods development including image acquisition, reconstruction, image processing and analysis. We collaborate with researchers in the University of Cambridge as well as commercial organisations. The group have authored or co-authored hundreds of peer-reviewed papers as well as multiple books and book chapters.

Teaching and education

The MR Physics group has a broad range of experience, including the provision of training to the NHS scientific training programme (STP) in imaging with non-Ionising radiation (INIR), supervision of MSc and PhD students and Part I FRCR teaching for clinical radiology trainees. We also contribute to national and international MRI meetings. We provide MRI safety training for staff working in MRI, covering the risk of projectiles, RF heating, time-varying fields, implanted devices and the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents. We can provide dedicated teaching covering any aspects of MR Physics, or MR Safety as required.

Example slide from an “Introduction to the fundamentals of MR Physics” lecture - Spin Echo Contrast
Example slide from an “Introduction to the fundamentals of MR Physics” lecture delivered to trainee l Radiologists as part of their FRCR training.

Contacting us

To enquire further about our MR physics services please email us.

  • Dr Martin Graves MRSE MRSC™
    Honorary consultant clinical scientist
    Professor of MR physics, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Andrew Priest MRSE MRSC™
    Principal MR clinical scientist
  • Dr Andrew Gill
    Senior MR clinical scientist
  • Edward Peake
    Principal MR clinical scientist
  • Richard Black
    Principal MR clinical scientist