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Are Zero Boil Off MRI Scanners Worth the Heavy Price Tag?

Let’s dispel a common misconception about the zero boil off MRI Scanner. The refills of liquid helium are still required but not as much as the earlier models. The current cooling technology has improved on MRI units since the 1980’s and 1990’s which prevents significant boil off of liquid helium. 

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of zero boil off MRI units and their suitability to certain medical practices?

First, what is a zero boil off MRI scanner?

Early generations of superconducting MRI scanners used super cooled liquids called cryogens to create strong magnetic fields. These liquid cryogens (helium and nitrogen) would evaporate or “boil off” in the atmosphere and need periodic refills depending on use.

Liquid helium is a scarce resource and expensive to replace, so nitrogen is used with helium to reduce the amount of helium needed. However, nitrogen would boil off quicker and need more refills making liquid cryogens still expensive to replace.

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