Full Body MRI Imaging

Not all Full Body MRI Scans are created equal. Our Radiologists have assembled unique equipment for generating and reviewing images to advance the field of diagnostic imaging with Advanced Cancer Detection Techniques. Our full body MRI machine, unlike other MRI machines currently available, produces images comparable to a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scanner, without the radiation.

Diffusion Weighted Imaging with Background Suppression (DWIBS) is able to distinguish a tumor in normal looking tissue. This is because unlike other MRI sequences, DWIBS shows the relatively dense molecular structure of the rapidly dividing tumor. This sequence was designed to achieve images similar to a PET scan. Research has shown DWIBS achieves a diagnostic confidence comparable to that of a PET scan. A facility with this unique capability plays an important role when choosing an imaging centre that’s right for you.

DWIBS PET Scan

Until recently, most MRI machines were unable to perform a full body examination. They could only perform individual parts where the study had to be stopped and the patient repositioned in a piecemeal fashion. Our machine is one of a few machines in the country that allows full body MRI imaging from head to toe while you lay quietly listening to music.

We perform a thorough study of the brain and entire spine, with a complete systematic review of all of the abdominal and pelvic organs. We believe in the central role of comprehensive risk factor assessment and screening technologies in the early detection of disease. Our onsite radiologists will tailor the study to ensure that a patient focussed study is performed which adequately addresses all of your concerns. After your scan, our radiologists will review the examination with you and provide you with a copy of the study results.

COMMONLY ASKED FULL BODY QUESTIONS

Is screening a useful tool?

For most cancers, if they are found early the outcome is almost always better. For more information on screening please refer to the World Health Organization website. The Canadian Cancer Society – Benefits of Screening also has useful information on screening. MRI is considered one of the best diagnostic and screening tools of any medical imaging tests.

Differences between the 3T vs 1.5T?

Consider if imaging the abdomen, pelvis and spinal cord is important when booking your whole body scan.

A casual study of MRI literature shows that 3T imaging does not increase image quality in the body [1]. In fact 3T imaging of the abdomen and pelvis is “inferior owing to problems with dielectric effects” [1]. These effects lead to information loss rendering the scan undiagnostic.  At 3T anatomy is misrepresented at “air, bone or soft-tissue interfaces” far more than at 1.5T [2]. Image quality of the spinal cord is reduced with 3T and “raises important safety concerns” [2]. One of these concerns is “significant cardiovascular stress” [3].

3T imaging presents health risks which are not a concern at 1.5T.

Using a 3T scanner requires heating the body tissue 4 times more than a clinically accepted 1.5T scanner. This presents an increased risk particularly for children, elderly, and anyone who has an impaired ability to dissipate heat. This is particularly concerning when imaging the abdominal and pelvic organs [1], a major component of whole body imaging.

As stated by [1] “some major problems at higher field strength (3T) have to be solved before high field magnetic resonance systems can really replace the well established and technically developed magnetic resonance systems operating at 1.5T.”

1. Schick, F., Whole-body MRI at high field: technical limits and clinical potential. Eur Radiol, 2005. 15(5): p. 946-59.

2. Dagia, C. and M. Ditchfield, 3T MRI in paediatrics: challenges and clinical applications. Eur J Radiol, 2008. 68(2): p. 309-19.

3. Boss, A., et al., Tissue warming and regulatory responses induced by radio frequency energy deposition on a whole-body 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imager. J Magn Reson Imaging, 2007. 26(5): p. 1334-9.

I had a whole body MRI performed on a 3T MRI. Wouldn’t it be better than a 1.5?

A 3T MRI is NOT as good as 1.5T for imaging the body, as evidenced above. 1.5T is therefore the standard for body imaging. Also, most 1.5T and all 3T magnets in Canada are unable to perform whole body DWI sequences. DWI sequences are one of the most powerful ways to non-invasively detect cancer and are widely used in Europe and Asia.

Where can I find more information on cancer statistics in Canada?

If you would like to learn more about the incidents of developing cancer, please refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

My doctors said screening MRI results in requiring more and more costly tests that become a burden on me or the public system.

This used to be the case with screening CT. MRI does not have this same problem. MRI unlike CT is able to characterize lesions more accurately than CT. Also, because our radiologists are onsite monitoring the study, any suspicious lesion will be completely characterized so that no further imaging tests should be necessary.

If I cannot come to Vancouver, Canada, where else can i get a Whole Body DWI study?

They are available throughout Japan, UK and Germany. If you want to go to one of these countries, feel free to contact us, we will be able to give you specific locations within these countries that can perform these studies.

What happens when you find something on your screening MRI?

Because our radiologists are onsite, the lesion is completely evaluated, so that if it is cancer it is staged and no more imaging tests would be required.

What kind of cancers can you detect with DWI?

It is effective for detecting lesions 1cm or larger. Head, neck mediastinum, esophageal, pancreatic, liver and kidney. These areas cannot be detected by any other other MRI machine unless contrast injection is performed.

PREVENTATIVE HEALTH SCREENING FOR YOU

Preventative health screening exams can detect and diagnose cancers, tumors and various abnormalities before symptoms arise. Early detection of such abnormalities ensure immediate intervening medical steps are taken for each individual patient.

At AIM Medical Imaging, we use advanced cancer detection technology which produces images similar to a Positron Emission Tomography scanner. Our machine has the capability to produce Diffusion Weighted Imaging with Background Suppression which is able to distinguish a tumor in normal looking tissue.

At AIM, your results are reviewed with YOU, by our on-site Radiologist. Each personal consultation is catered to each patient. You will view and discuss your images with our radiologist, ask questions about your results, and be educated about health issues. Following your personal consultation, results are produced and are released to your family physician and/or specialist within minutes. Doing so provides proper follow-up care and reduction of risks.

If you are concerned about your health or are curious about the state of your overall health, then a screening exam may be the choice for you.

LIMITATIONS

All preventative screening exams have their limits. Full body MRI screening is designed to supplement and not replace any other medical investigation unless discussed in advance with the radiologist. Patients must still attend the following exams, if applicable, which may include some of the following: mammography, PSA blood testing for men (prostate cancer surveillance), and colonoscopy screening for bowel cancer. Nonetheless, it is ideal that your family physician be informed about your screening results to incorporate with your overall health records.

Having ‘Peace of Mind’ makes all the difference… especially when it involves your health.