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The "magic angle" effect consists of the increase in signal intensity observed at a tendon or cartilage in a magnetic resonance image, when the tissue is oriented at an angle of approximately 55deg with respect to the main magnetic field B0. The exploitation of this phenomenon is often used to assist diagnosis of tendinous and other diseases, although practical difficulties derived from positioning target tissue at the desired orientation inside closed-bore scanners has made this exploitation hard to implement. A 3-DOF MR-compatible mechatronic system has been developed to position a variety of limbs at the magic angle inside a closed- bore scanner, actuated by a custom-developed pneumatic air motor. The system is capable of locating the desired anatomy with high accuracy, and is designed to position the target tissue at a minimal distance from the isocenter. The compatibility of the system is demonstrated, producing negligible artifacts and an insignificant reduction in signal to noise of the image. Preliminary clinical trials scanning the Achilles tendon of healthy volunteers prove the functionality of the device. An increase in signal intensity of up to 21-fold has been recorded in the tendon at the magic angle.
Date of Publication: June 2008