Should I Upgrade my GE 1.5T MRI & How Far Should I Upgrade It?

More and more, we hear from GE 1.5T MRI users who prefer the idea of keeping their current magnet and upgrading its electronics and software instead of replacing it entirely. There are plenty of reasons (at least seven) to go that route, but what they really want to know is how much more performance they'll get.

To help GE MRI users better understand the functionality they'll gain at each upgrade level, we put our heads together with our friends at Signature MRI to break down features and options for 9X, 12X, 15X/16X, and 23X scanners with CXK4 magnets.

9X LX CXK4 Systems

A 9X LX system is where many users are starting from. These are a reliable, workhorse type of system, but have many limitations in the face of HD systems and above in the modern imaging landscape. Compared to an HD, a 9X is quite slow and takes a considerably longer amount of time to produce high resolution images.

In addition to speed, most radiologists are asking for a smaller field of view. Getting the thinner slices that achieve this is a struggle for 9X through 11X systems. Still, if an upgrade isn't in the cards for a year or two, a 9X can continue to perform dependably until you're ready for a change. The window has mostly closed for OEM service at this level, but Block Imaging and strategic partners like Signature MRI can support 9X systems long into the future.

12X HD CXK4 Systems

Stepping up to the 12X HD, users will find more options to help with faster scans and shorter scan times. This will lead to more accurate and confident diagnoses and better workflow, while simultaneously increasing patient care levels and general comfort with non-invasive procedures.

Other advances at this level include:

  • ASSET, an advanced software option, becomes available at this level and enables the full benefits of 8-channel coils. 
  • Additional advanced software options for vascular and neurological studies also become available, including SWI,DTI (diffusion tensor imaging), LAVA, FRFSE, and tractography for brain fibers.

15X & 16X HD CXK4 Systems

At 15X and 16X users step more fully into the modern MRI tech tier. At this level there are even more speed and high resolution options, picking up where the 12X leaves off and carrying the benefits further. Additional software options emerge, such as LAVA FLEX, 3D FRFSE, and the ability to use 16-channel and 32-channel coils to cut down on scan times and increase image quality resolution.

Of these two, 16X has a slightly more user-friendly interface, allowing better general workflow, especially for techs with lower experience.  

16X & 23X HD CXK4 Systems

16X through 23X are the most modern 1.5T systems and the best choice for speed, gradient performance, clinical flexibility and specialty or advanced imaging. The gradients allow superior high-resolution use of HD and 8/16/32-channel coils for better image quality in a fraction of the time of previous platforms. Speeds at this level are essential to keeping up with demand at high-volume imaging centers and most hospitals.

Additional software options that become available at this level include Maverick, which gives users the ability to see around metal, and 2D Dixon, which improves the user's ability to separate water and fat images, based on chemical shift.

It's also worth noting that third-party software companies are beginning to develop advanced options at the 23X level to customize and further improve the native system's performance. It's been quite a while since we've seen this happen in the industry (since the 90's), but we expect it to have a significant impact on the overall range of capabilities offered.


Whether you upgrade your current GE 1.5T one, two, or three tiers, the benefits are undeniable: faster imaging, shorter scan times, and the ability to use your MRI equipment in more ways than ever before. If you're using a GE 1.5T system and want to step up your capabilities- without the cost of a complete replacement, we'd love to talk with you about your next upgrade at any level. To learn more, use the button below to ask your questions and tell us how we can help.

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Steve Rentz

Steve Rentz is the Product Manager for MRI Scanners at Block Imaging. Steve's goal is to earn each customer's trust and business by specifically addressing the needs of their unique project. When Steve is not helping customers with their MRI needs, he enjoys running, swimming, and woodworking.