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Dedicated SENSE coils and SENSE Flex coils for joint imaging

Application Tip
Jong, J.W. Philips Healthcare Philips Global

This application tip focuses on the varied implementation of dedicated coils and SENSE Flex coils in joint imaging. Dedicated SENSE coils are designed for high SNR and easy patient preparation. Flexible SENSE Flex coils can be placed very close to anatomy of interest for maximum SNR.

Patient positioning and coil placement

For all coils, position the patient comfortably to avoid motion. Carefully determine the anatomy of interest before positioning the coil and make sure to support the anatomy of interest by using sandbags, for example, placed on the side. Avoid placing sandbags in the FOV or on top of arms legs or shoulders - as the extra weight can cause discomfort and invite patient motion.


Refer to the Application Guides or NetForum (Application Tips) for additional information and safety guidelines.

Use of SENSE and CLEAR in musculoskeletal imaging

SENSE Flex coils and dedicated SENSE coils are compatible with CLEAR homogeneity correction and SENSE. SENSE and CLEAR are compatible with all scan protocols.


Applying CLEAR gives excellent homogeneity throughout the images. In fat-suppressed images however, image interpretation may sometimes be easier without CLEAR.


SENSE can be used to accelerate a scan, but many musculoskeletal studies use NSA of 2-4, so it is recommended to first optimize other parameters (e.g., if backfolding can be avoided, foldover suppression may be switched off and NSA may be reduced from 4 to 2 before switching on SENSE).


Dedicated SENSE coils

SENSE Flex coils


Offer optimized image quality in all anatomy, because they are:

  • Easy to position
  • Compatible with higher SENSE factors
  • Designed for high SNR and optimized image quality
  • Useful for increasing throughput due to scan speed and ease of positioning


Are flexible, so they:


  • Fit generous-sized patients or patients in pain
  • Can be placed accurately, close to anatomy of interest, which optimizes SNR




SENSE Shoulder coil SENSE Flex-M coil

The SENSE Shoulder coil is easy to position. Use the smallest shoulder cup that fits to maximize SNR by the shorter distance to the anatomy.


Place the cup in the inner slot on the base plate if possible, as this keeps the shoulder closer to the isocenter, thereby optimizing image quality. Push the arm and thus the shoulder into the cup to obtain optimal loading of the cup.

Positioning is critical with the SENSE Flex-M coil. We recommend the following steps:


First, position a coil element to cover the deltoid muscle of the shoulder; this element is almost in the sagittal plane. Fix with a strap that also goes through the opening of the second element. Position the second element on top of the first, almost in the coronal plane.

Ensure an overlap between coil elements of about 20% to avoid coupling influencing image quality. Attach both coil elements loosely to the patient by closing the strap.





SENSE Knee coil SENSE Flex-M 

The SENSE Knee coil affords much better SNR than the quadrature Knee/Foot coil.


Ensure that the center of the knee is positioned in the center of the SENSE Knee coil so that the FOV contains all areas of interest.

To image the knee joint, place the center of the anterior SENSE Flex-M coil on the distal edge of the patella. Place the second coil element posterior, opposing the first.


For optimizing image quality when imaging a large knee, the coil elements may also be positioned medial and lateral to the knee.





SENSE Wrist coil SENSE Flex-S (and SENSE FLEX-M)
Choose one of the patient positions shown here. Support the whole arm when using the feet-first supine position, to discourage patient motion. If SENSE Flex-S coils are positioned and fixed carefully, image quality is very good - comparable to that of the SENSE Wrist coil.
For larger wrists or large FOV including the hand, the SENSE Flex-M coil may be used. Use cushions between hand and SENSE Flex-M coil elements to avoid coupling between the coil elements. (Do NOT use cushions between SENSE Flex-S coils!)





Knee/Foot coil SENSE Flex-S (and SENSE FLEX-M)
Rotate the ankle slightly to obtain orthogonal surveys. Use the foot-support coil insert to prevent motion.

SENSE Flex-S provides optimized resolution if just the ankle needs to be imaged. For imaging the joint, position the Flex-S coil on the lateral and medial malleolus.


To examine a larger area, use the SENSE Flex-M coil, which yields slightly less SNR but affords more coverage. To image the joint, position coil on the malleolus and tarsal bones.

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Nov 17, 2006

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Application Tip
Achieva 1.5T, Achieva 3.0T, Intera 1.5T, Intera 3.0T
Release 1, Release 1 (FreeWave), Release 10, Release 11, Release 12, Release 2, Release 2 (FreeWave), Release 7, Release 8, Release 9
Explorer / Nova Dual, gradients, Master / Nova, Master / Quasar Dual, Nova, Nova Dual, Omni / Stellar, Power / Pulsar, Pulsar, Quasar Dual
Ankle, Foot, Knee, Musculoskeletal, Shoulder, Wrist

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