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3.0T imaging at Olympic Park, Melbourne, supports early diagnosis of sport injuries

Best Practice
Connell, David, M.D. Imaging @ Olympic Park • Australia

Imaging @ Olympic Park (I@OP) is a private imaging and treatment center located in Melbourne’s

AAMI Park, an iconic new sports venue that’s home to some of the city’s National League soccer, rugby and Australian Rules football teams. The center claims to offer the sporting and wider community access to some of the best imaging equipment in the world including a Philips Achieva 3.0T X-series.

 David Connell, MD Imaging@Olimpic Park, Melbourne
David Connell, MD
Imaging@Olimpic Park, Melbourne

“We predominantly see professional sports people but our patients also include people of all ages and walks of life with an interest in sport,” says radiologist David Connell, MD, Clinical Director of I@OP. “Although many of these come to us with sporting injuries, nowadays the focus of our work is increasingly on visualizing potential injuries before symptoms become apparent, and for this we find MRI, with its absence of ionizing radiation, particularly valuable.”

A smart business decision

“We decided at an early stage in our plans for I@OP to select one vendor for all our equipment”, explains Dr. Connell. “We wanted a collaborative relationship with a company with whom we felt comfortable; with whom we shared the same agenda. And we’ve no doubt that we made a very smart decision in pursuing a long-term collaboration with Philips. The local Philips team has been outstanding in supporting our activities and ambitions, both inside and outside the clinic. We also like the fact that the company is willing to help us invest in the future.”

The center now provides comprehensive imaging services across a range of modalities, and includes state-of-the-art Philips equipment such as an Achieva 3.0T X-series MRI scanner, a Brilliance 64-slice CT scanner as well as Interventional Fluoroscopy, Ultrasound and Digital Radiography units.

Growing reputation in MSK imaging

According to Dr. Connell, the Achieva 3.0T X-series is an excellent system. “Our MSK images are phenomenal, showing far more detail than comparable images taken on 1.5T systems at other institutions in our locality. The higher signal at 3.0T allows us to image with much thinner slices and higher resolution with no compromise on scanning speed. We strive to be the best in this country”, he says.

Dr. Connell is particularly impressed with the clear visualization of tiny muscle tears and stresses in bone before they become full-blown stress fractures that could end an athlete’s season. “We often scan athletes, for example cricketers or gymnasts, who’ve been referred to us with back pain without an obvious cause. Usually we first perform a 3.0T MRI scan of the pars interarticularis with very thin 1 mm slices, which invariably reveals tiny cracks in the bone that we couldn’t see with other imaging methods. We had a recent case of a professional footballer complaining of chronic foot pain. The cause was a 2 mm stress fracture in the navicular bone that was only revealed on the 3.0T images. An MRI performed elsewhere failed to pick this up, and only because of the exceptional detail in the 3.0T images were we able to see that this was a tiny stress fracture rather than bruising,” he says.

With the high image quality they are getting, the radiologists at I@OP now consider 3.0T MRI to be a serious contender to replace CT in many of their MSK examinations, including examinations of stress fractures of the feet and pars interarticularis of the spine. “We have also found the Achieva 3.0T more sensitive than ultrasound in visualizing and quantifying small muscle tears and strains,”explains Dr. Connell. “We now have exquisite detail of subtle capsular and ligament sprains around the knee and ankle, which we could not previously see with 1.5T imaging. And our surgeons also tell us that we are much more accurate at finding and describing small labral tears in the hip joint.”

View case studies from I@OP:

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Nov 17, 2011

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Best Practice
Achieva 3.0T, Achieva 3.0T X-series

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