Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)  -  The Mayo Clinic will soon become the first Medical Center in North America to employ a 7-Tesla MRI scanner.

A news release issued today indicates the Food and Drug Administration has given the Mayo Clinic permission to install the high-tech diagnostic tool for use on head and knee scans. The MAGNETOM Terra, built by Siemens, produces a magnetic field that is over twice the strength of conventional MRI scanners. It’s expected to be operational in Rochester later this year.

Mayo Clinic radiologists are expected to use the machine’s ability to produce ultrafine resolution images to visualize small lesions in patients suffering microhemorrhages in the brain or multiple sclerosis lesions that might not be detected by less powerful scanners. They predict it will also improve the ability of surgeons to cure seizures in certain patients and assist in the noninvasive diagnosis of knee problems.

“This is an incredibly exciting addition to our fleet of MRI scanners and provides our physicians an additional transformational resource to help ensure that our patients receive the correct diagnosis and treatment,” says Kent Thielen, M.D., chair, Department of Radiology. “The 7-Tesla MRI scanner also provides our institution access to a tremendous tool that will propel our innovations in medical imaging.”