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MRI: 1.5 or 3T ?


Most MRI units throughout the UK are 1.5 T and this is the standard for general imaging. This field strength is best suited for spinal examinations, particularly lumbar spine imaging. It is also good for generalised overviews of large joints such as shoulders and hips and knees.


3T MRI units have twice the field strength allowing images of greater resolution to be obtained. This is the field strength recommended for smaller joints particularly fingers, wrists, elbows and ankles. 3T is also recommended when fine detail of larger joints is required. Indications include assessment of articular cartilage in the knee.