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Frequently Asked Questions

Want to learn more about the Embrace® Neonatal MRI System? We’ve compiled the following list of the most commonly asked questions to give you more information. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us.
A. Yes, Embrace® is FDA cleared.
A.The Embrace® Neonatal MRI System is different from other MR scanners in several important ways:

-self-shielded design allows the use of bedside equipment in the room, next to the magnet

-the only MR scanner equipped with a temperature controlled bed to support the thermal needs of the baby during scanning

-quiet profile to meet the requirements of the NICU environment

Every aspect of the system is designed to eliminate the patient risks and workflow complexity associated with transporting babies out of the NICU, without compromising image quality necessary to make accurate clinical diagnoses which inform clinical care decisions.
A. The Embrace® system was designed to meet the needs of greater than 90% of NICU cases scans– the brain. The Embrace® is currently constructed to image the neonatal head and is designed with a dedicated RF head coil. We welcome input from our customers on the next generation of MR requirements in the NICU.

A.In a retrospective study published in 2014, the clinical and radiological aspects of 129 neonatal MRI examinations during a 3-year period were analyzed. MR-based changes in clinical management were initiated in 58% of cases. The most common change in management was an influence on the initiation or termination and choice of long-term anticonvulsive therapy or anticoagulation, operative decision-making, or antibiotic treatment [Z. Rona et al European journal of pediatric neurology 1 4 (2010) 410-417].

Site Planning & Placement

A.No. The Embrace® Neonatal MRI system is designed to be installed in any available space near or within the NICU. A space similar in size to a private patient room is the perfect location for the Embrace® system.

A. No. The magnet is fully self-shielded. The low magnetic field of the 5 Gauss line is contained within the system cover eliminating the need for perimeter barriers 10+ feet away from the scanner. Medical equipment, such as standard ventilators, oxygen tanks, and IV pumps/poles can be placed next to the scanner and close to the patient. This is not possible with conventional MRI scanners.

A.  No, the system does not require a backup electrical power source. When the system is not in use, it does not require any electrical power. 

A.Compared to superconducting MRI systems, the Embrace® requires a 15 ampere 240-volt single phase connection, like an electric stove. When the scanner is running, it uses 2200 watts which is less energy than required to power two 1500-watt hair dryers. When the Embrace® is not in use, the electronics rack is turned off completely – removing the need for a standby mode on the Embrace® MRI scanner.

A.200 – 240 VAC, single phase, 12 A 50/60 Hz

A. The Embrace® is designed for everything to go into a single room, without the need for a separate control room, electrical room or other required zone spaces. With approximately 200 ft2, the Embrace® can be installed into the NICU, in space similar to the current recommended size for a single patient room.

A. No, the system does not require a cooling system.

A. The magnet weighs 5,500 kg/12,000 lbs. The floor may require some reinforcement to support the weight of the scanning unit. This is the only consideration that must be considered when selecting the location for the Embrace®.

A.The maximum power dissipation is less than 2.7 KW.

System Operation

A.The Embrace® is silent when not in use. During scanning the sound level in the MR suite is 69 dB(A). During scanning, sound levels inside the magnet average 85 dB with a peak level at 87 dB. Traditional MRI scanners typically have sound levels in the 95-100 dB range in the MR suite. During scanning, sound levels in a traditional magnet can reach 120-125 dB.

A. No. The patient bed does not deliver supplemental environmental humidity. Swaddling with blankets is recommended which can reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL) for premature infants for the short duration of the scan. There is no contraindication to using polyurethane plastic wraps if desired by the medical team.

A.  The system supports MWL and multiple PACs servers and enables a seamless connection to all HIS/RIS/EMR systems.

A. The air temperature inside the patient bed is controlled via a closed-loop air circulation heating system. The desired air temperature inside the Embrace® patient bed is set manually by the health care providers, based on the needs of the patient. Adjustments to the air temperature can be made quickly and easily using the touch screen panel located on the patient bed.

A.Currently there is only a head coil, but multi-channel coils are under consideration to cover other areas of interest.

Scanning & Image Quality

A.The Embrace® is pre-loaded with standard imaging sequences, such as SE, FSE, GRE, and DWI. All sequence parameters can be adjusted by the application specialist.

A.A typical clinical scan time for diagnostic purposes is ~ 20 minutes
Gradient scan time of 2D sequences (SE, FSE) is ~ 3 minutes
Gradient scan time of 3D sequences (3D GRE) is ~ 5 minutes
Gradient scan time of DWI/ADC map sequences is ~ 7 minutes

Scan time may change in case the number of slices is increased (which may require increasing the TR), or if more averages are needed to increase SNR.


The entire procedure – from initial preparation, through scanning, until the patient is returned to bed – typically takes less than an hour.

A.  Typical clinical T1 and T2 scans are done at 3 mm with a 0 or 1 mm slice gap. 3D-T1 protocols have slice thickness of 0.7-1 mm. Diffusion protocols use slice thickness between 3-5 mm. Typical b-values are 700-1000 s/mm2.

A.  When comparing the images created by the Embrace® MRI scanner to images acquired by both 1.5 and 3.0T conventional whole-body scanners, our clinical and research users have found the Embrace® images to be comparable and have been able to use them with confidence to make clinical diagnoses. Click to view image comparisons in our image library.
A. The Embrace® is pre-loaded with standard imaging sequences, such as SE, FSE, GRE, and DWI. All sequence parameters can be adjusted by the application specialist.
A. It is possible to acquire 2D and 3D sequences with a resolution of 0.3 mm. For clinical purposes, the typical resolution parameters for the neonatal brain are as follows: 2D sequences (FSE, SE): 0.8 x 0.8 x 3 mm3 3D sequences (GRE): 1 x 1 x 1 mm3 ADC map: 2 x 2 x 4 mm3 For research studies that require higher resolution, the Embrace® can match maximum resolution found on 1.5T whole body MRI scanners.

A.The system supports MWL and multiple PACs servers and enables a seamless connection to all HIS/RIS/EMR systems.

A.Yes we do. Explore our image library, including comparison images from a traditional 1.5T scanner.

Patient Care & Safety

A.The Embrace® is designed for babies weighing between 1 kg and 4.5 kg with a head circumference up to 38 cm. However, our research partners have scanned babies larger than 4.5 kg when clinically required. The head circumference seems to be the limiting factor more than the weight.

A.The temperature of the baby can be measured via an MR Safe surface temperature sensor connected to external MR-conditional (patient) monitor.

A.  Yes. The RF head coil is designed with an opening above the mouth area to accommodate an ET tube, CPAP apparatus, and the ventilator circuit tubing. Additionally, the patient bed has access ports and grommets to manage all patient equipment, including IV tubing and monitoring leads, preventing them from getting pinched, twisted or snagged.

A.  Yes. This is one of the unique features of the Embrace® Neonatal MRI. This system provides, for the first time, real-time video monitoring capabilities for the clinical NICU team to watch the baby during the scan to observe for distress, breathing issues and movement. Providing a video stream of the baby also provides peace of mind for the parents that may accompany their baby to the MRI suite for a scan.

A.  There’s no difference for NICU patients. The feed and wrap technique done properly creates minimal movement and reducing transit time lets you take advantage of peak post-feeding coma time and lets the baby settle in during the scan, minimizing the risk for sedation and motion which impacts the image quality.

A.  No. The permanent magnet is fully self-shielded with the 5 Gauss line completely contained within the housing of the magnet itself which allows oxygen canisters, infusion pumps, ventilators and other standard NICU equipment to be placed right next to the magnet. The only MR Safe equipment required when using the Embrace MRI scanner is for items that are placed inside the magnet with the baby, such as SpO2 sensors, ECG leads, or temperature probe.

A.In the over 200 scans that have been performed using the Embrace MRI scanner in the last two years, additional sedation has not been required to reduce motion artifacts. A simple feed-and-swaddle technique has been used and due to the close proximity of the magnet to the patient room, there is minimal transport and wait time. On average the baby is back to their bed in about 1 hour. Also, the Embrace keeps the baby warm in the temperature- controlled bed throughout the scan which keeps the babies more comfortable and asleep.

A.Keeping MRI inside the NICU minimizes the risk of exposure to circulating pathogens by eliminating off-unit transport and contact with equipment that may be used for all patient populations in the hospital. In-NICU MRI scanning is now more important than ever due heightened concerns of COVID-19. Cleaning procedures and recommended cleaning agents are clearly outlined in the Embrace Operator Manual.

A.No. All components including the electronics cabinet and MR Technologist’s console are located in the same room as the MRI scanner.

A.The Embrace® Patient Bed, magnet bore, and magnet covers may be cleaned with either an alcohol-free dual quaternary ammonium (e.g. Sani-Cloth® AF3 by PDI®, Virex II 256 by Diversey) or an approximate concentration of 1000 ppm solution of Effervescent NaDCC (e.g. Defender™ by TrustMedical – 1076 ppm, Actichlor™ Plus by ECOLAB – 1000 ppm). The cleaning solutions have been tested to comply with conventional cleaning agents used within a healthcare facility. As with all cleaning guidelines, please refer to your facility’s environmental affairs department to ensure that use of these cleaning agents is performed in accordance with your local safety standards.

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