Evaluation of Low-Field 0.55 Tesla MRI Scanner

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Evaluation of a Low-Field 0.55 Tesla MAGNETOM Free.Max MRI Scanner in Clinical Practice.



  • Contact name

    Amedeo Chiribiri

  • Contact email


  • Sponsor organisation

    King's College London

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 1 months, 9 days

  • Research summary

    Most clinical MRI investigations in the UK are conducted using high static magnetic field strengths (1.5 Tesla and above). High magnetic field strength scanners are deemed necessary to produce the image resolution and quality that MRI imagers strive for. However, high magnetic field strengths can limit MRI imaging to certain patient demographics, restricting its use in those with metallic implants and claustrophobia.

    A novel MRI scanner (Siemens MAGNETOM Free.Max), with a lower static magnetic field strength (0.55 Tesla), is now installed at St. Thomas' Hospital; through a partnership between King's College London (KCL), Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) and Siemens Healthineers AG. Having received CE-marking in May 2021, this scanner is the first of its type in the UK, and will allow the team at KCL/GSTT to research and evaluate its use in clinical practice.

    This new scanner has several advantages to current MRI hardware. Firstly, at 80 cm diameter, the bore is wider than other whole body MRI scanner available - allowing patients of taller and wider proportions a more comfortable scanning experience. The scanner infrastructure is also small and compact, requiring only a small volume of liquid helium for operation, and is easily sited without specific engineering considerations. The lower field strength will likely reduce the chance of artefacts affecting the images, whilst combining with modern imaging technology to improve image resolution.

    The aim of our reserach is to evaluate clinical MRI scanning using this low-field 0.55T scanner, compare images obtained to those obtained at other field strengths within our institutions, and to refine low-field acquisition protocols and techniques. By inviting patients already awaiting MRI investigations to participate, we ensure that images obtained are directly comparable, without compromising patient’s clinical journey. We aim to optimise protocols for specific anatomical regions over the coming years.

  • REC name

    London - City & East Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    5 Dec 2022

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion