Stretchy Coils Can Make MRI Imaging Easier On Patients


  • Radio-frequency (RF) coils can cause pain to the wearers during MRI tests that are longer.
  • Flexible RF coil has been developed by researchers at Purdue University.

While undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning, many patients have to have the body parts being imaged strapped into rigid radio-frequency (RF) coils. As RF coils not custom-sized for every patient, imaged strapping via RF coils can be uncomfortable. As many MRI exams can take a half hour or more to perform, this scanning process can be difficult for many patients to undergo.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed RF coils that can be flexed and stretched. One day they maybe be used within wearable garments that would be worn during MRI exams. Joseph Rispoli, who is one of the study authors and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University said:

“Imagine going for an imaging session and they strap on a comfortable fabric with the coils embedded inside. We created an adaptable, wearable and stretchable fabric embroidered with conductive threads that provides excellent signal-to-noise ratio for enhanced MRI scanning.”

The new coils relies on conductive silver-coated threads that are stitched to a fabric. A zig-zag pattern is created by applying the threads are applied in an alternating pattern. This pattern optimizes the signal to noise ratio.

The pliable nature of the coil, along with the ease of placing it close to the body improves the imaging quality compared to those with the rigid one-size-fits-all devices. MRI imaging of breasts may be particularly impacted in the old technology as those organs tend to be of different sizes and densities.

New coils Tests Showed Positive Results

So far, new coils have been tested with only basic imaging. The results are promising already. Rispoli says, “Our preliminary results show a full-scale device will be superior in all aspects of diagnostic testing, including increased sensitivity and fewer false positives.”