A new MRI machine is on the rise in Singapore - the 3 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner – or 3T MRI.
The machine was provided to KKH as part of a collaboration with the Singapore Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), making KKH the first dedicated imaging facility in Singapore for research and clinical work with women and children.
“The 3T MRI scanner will help KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital deliver dedicated imaging services for neonatology, paediatrics and women, and allow us to participate in high-level clinically relevant advanced treatment for our patients. This will enhance the standard of care we are able to render to women and children as it will enable us to detect diseases earlier and more accurately," says A/Prof Ong Chiou Li, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Diagnostic & Interventional Imaging, KKH.
Since its arrival, the 3T MRI scanner has been put to good use in clinical work – with nearly 500 clinical cases using the machine. Dr Tang Phua Hwee, Consultant, Department of Diagnostic & Interventional Imaging, KKH, explains that the use of the machine is able to spare little ones invasive diagnostic procedures, shorten the diagnostic process and contribute to cost-effective healthcare. “Clinicians are increasingly reliant on imaging as there is a desire to diagnose diseases earlier when they may be more amenable to treatment. Surgeons also find a map of the territory useful prior to carrying out an operation.
Due to the non-invasive nature of bioimaging procedures, the 3T MRI machine also opens up tremendous opportunities in the area of research and clinical studies, particularly in the area of paediatric MRI research. In the infant brain, myelination of the axons is incomplete, causing poor contrast in the image between grey and white matter – delivering a blurry photograph of the brain. Prof Sir George Radda, Chairman, Biomedical Research Council, A*STAR, is hopeful that the 3T MRI machine will facilitate studies in the paediatric brain – particularly in premature babies – and also women’s pain and breast cancer research.