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Parallel imaging pioneer Philips continues leadership in fast MRI

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MRI NetForum Team Philips Healthcare Philips Global

SENSE parallel imaging pioneer Philips continues leadership in fast MRI

Achieva system with 32-channel FreeWave is already prepared for a new era in MR

In 1998, Philipsã Gyroscan system was based on an MR platform that was ahead of its time, anticipating new developments in MR methodology. With its six independent receiver channels, then the most in the industry, its ability to acquire vast quantities of image data in parallel was unprecedented. SENSE was a perfect match for this platform, which could exploit the parallel imaging method in a way that no competing systems could. While other vendors emphasized increased gradient power, in practice this approach was limited by technological and patient safety considerations. In contrast, Philipsã SENSE demonstrated speed increases far higher than those obtainable by conventional means.


In 2000, Philips became the first vendor to incorporate MR parallel imaging into the commercial product. Since then, SENSE-equipped Philips systems have attained ever higher acquisition speeds. This has resulted in unprecedented reductions in scan time and advances in image quality, as well as opening up completely new applications. Now, Philips is building further on its leadership in parallel imaging with the Achieva, launched at RSNA 2003, featuring FreeWave ¹ a completely new data acquisition system that places parallel imaging at its heart. Not only does FreeWave deliver immediate benefits today, it is also prepared for future developments in intelligent MR.


Philips SENSE parallel imaging: the milestones of leadership



Philips discussed with scientists at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University and ETH Zurich the practical implementation of a unique parallel imaging technique on the Philips MR platform.



Publication by Zurichãs Klaas Pruessmann, Ph.D., in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine:"SENSE: sensitivity encoding for fast MRI.", the worldãs first clinically practical MR parallel imaging technique.


RSNA: Philips announces Gyroscan Intera system with SENSE parallel imaging.



  • SENSE available in product to double scanning speed in virtually all applications.
  • CLEAR (Constant Level Appearance) homogeneity correction in phased-array coil applications(e.g. SENSE) reconstructs a perfect homogenous signal over entire acquired image.



‗ 2x faster scanning.

‗ 2x shorter breath-hold scans while preserving spatial resolution.

‗ 2x higher spatial resolution and fewer motion artifacts in same scan time.

‗ Common SENSE applications in routine brain, CE-MRA and abdominal (breath-hold) studies.



  • Philips users report many applications that benefit from SENSE.
  • 300th Philips scanner receives SENSE.
  • ISMRM Glasgow: Young Investigator Awards Finalist:Advances in Sensitivity Encoding with Arbitrary k-Space Trajectories - KP Pruessmann, M Weiger , Zurich.
  • RSNA: Eight-element SENSE Head coil as WIP.
  • MR spectroscopy at quadruple speed (works-in-progress).



‗ 3D high resolution full brain perfusion (e.g. 4x4x4 mm) at a temporal resolution of 1 sec.

‗ 1/2 x breath-hold time (to 15 s) in large-FOV dynamic abdominal studies.

‗ Better DWI quality by shortening echo train length in single-shot EPI, reducing susceptibility artifacts.

‗ 2x faster free-breathing pediatric CE-MRA, with superb spatial resolution.

‗ 1/2 CE-MRA breath-hold times, or greater spatial resolution (e.g. from 1x2x4 mm to 1x2x2 mm) in same scan time.

‗ Number of cardiac studies increases, with shorter breath holds or better temporal/spatial resolution.

‗ B-FFE with SENSE provides either faster imaging or higher matrix at same acquisition time.

 High-resolution wrist image made using the 4-channel SENSE Wrist coil, ProSet fat suppression. Several SENSE applications: DWI in brain, WATS, CE-MRA in abdomen Total spine using Achieva 1.5T MobiScan and MobiView
High-resolution wrist image made using the 4-channel SENSE Wrist coil, ProSet fat suppression.
Several SENSE applications: DWI in brain, WATS, CE-MRA in abdomen
Total spine using Achieva 1.5T MobiScan and MobiView



  • SENSE factor 4 used for high temporal or spatial resolution 3D CE-MRA.
  • Zurichãs J Tsao presents k-t BLAST and k-t SENSE at ISMRM.
  • RSNA: SENSE factor 6 launched.
  • 1000th SENSE package delivered.
  • Zurichãs Pruessmann and Weiger receive first Philips Innovation Award for SENSE work.



‗ 4x faster dynamic carotids CE-MRA (4.5 s/dynamic), providing excellent temporal resolution.

‗ 4x spatial resolution in body CE-MRA in standard scan time.

‗ 6x faster whole-brain phase contrast angiography.

‗ SENSE enables maximum use of Intera 3.0Tãs abundant SNR and speed by avoiding excessive RF deposition and SAR limitations.

‗ In 3.0T BOLD, SENSE reduces signal dropout and distortion.

‗ Clinically practical MR spectroscopy at 3.0T using SENSE.

‗ Greatly reduced susceptibility effects in DWI and DTI.



  • SENSE is routine imaging technique on 1200+ Philips MR systems worldwide. 
  • On Intera 3.0T systems SENSE reduces SAR concerns in very fast sequences.


RSNA: Philips introduces:

‗ Intera Achieva with FreeWave 32-channel architecture.

‗ Expanded Full range of SENSE coils.

‗ SENSE factor 8 as a product.

‗ SENSE up to factor 4 on Panorama 0.23T and Panorama 0.6T.

‗ SENSE upgrade for 1.5T Infinion, Eclipse installed base.



‗ DWI in difficult body studies (pancreas, breast, small lesions) enabled by SENSEãs speed, susceptibility artifact reduction.

‗ More liver arterial phases in same 20-second breath hold.

‗ Intera 3.0T systems with SENSE produce excellent results in Neuro and Body applications.



Achieva with FreeWave builds on Philips leadership in parallel imaging, and is making next-generation SENSE applications a reality.



‗ SENSE factor 32 images acquired on Achieva (works-in-progress).

‗ Panorama 1.0T open system with 8-channel FreeWave data acquisition system was launched.



Our customers are now using SENSE in so many routine applications, that itãs sometimes easy to ¶take for granted÷ the clinical power it brings in speed and resolution. New and proven techniques are based on SENSE, for instance THRIVE (T1 High Resolution Isotropic Volumetric Examination) for body imaging or TRACS (Time-Resolved Angiography using CENTRA and SENSE) technique, enabling time-resolved CE-MRA in all applications.


Number of independent receiver channels is key to performance

Optimized handling of the ever-increasing volumes of imaging data in a balanced architecture has been pioneered and implemented by Philips. The number of independent receiver channels determines how many signals can be measured simultaneously (i.e. in parallel), allowing substantial increases in speed. Independent, parallel data handling requires a match between the number of coil elements, and the number of independent receiver channels in the system. For instance, when combining a high number of coil elements with a lower number of independent system channels, the speed advantages will be limited. Philips users were the first in the world to benefit from parallel imaging when SENSE was introduced in 2000. Notably, SENSE was available not only on new systems, but it could also be fitted to already installed systems without changes in system hardware. Even systems dating back to 1994 were already equipped with the platform required for the advanced SENSE technique. This is striking proof of the foresight of Philipsã MR platform development.
 Achieva with 16-channel NeuroVascular coil. PCA, SENSE factor 6 PCA venography, SENSE factor 8
Achieva with 16-channel NeuroVascular coil.
PCA, SENSE factor 6
PCA venography, SENSE factor 8

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Feb 2, 2005

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