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Health Spotlight: AI supercharges MRI scans

Health Spotlight: AI supercharges MRI scans

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Each year, 40 million Americans undergo an MRI scan. It’s the best way for physicians to glimpse inside the body without surgery. It’s also critical that the scan quality is crystal clear, and that’s why some hospital systems have begun to incorporate AI into the process.

When an MRI scans your body, it’s using heavy electromagnets as doctors search for early signs of cancer, liver disease, and tumors. Early detection means earlier life-saving treatment.

“The tool that we’re using is AI to reconstruct the images, but not to read the images,” said Carlos Morales, MD, a neuroradiologist at Baptist Health System and Baptist M&S Imaging in San Antonio, Texas. “We still do all of the reading.”

The AI reconstructs and produces an image with high resolution, and in far less time than a traditional MRI.

“The main benefit for the patient is decrease in scan time,” Morales said. “That means decrease in the amount of time they have to spend in the uncomfortable MRI scanner – up to 50% in some cases.”

Additionally, Morales says the AI system they use produces about 30% – 50% higher resolution images for radiologists to more easily interpret.

“At the end of the day, I get a much higher percentage of high quality, highly-diagnostic examinations,” said Morales.

“If there are any small, subtle lesions that we can detect on these higher-resolution exams, we can help find problems earlier than without it,” said Morales.

Radiologists input instructions into the scanner and the artificial intelligence runs a software algorithm for quicker scans, meaning an average 30-minute scan is complete within 12 minutes.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.