MRI technology has revolutionized the practice of medicine for the last 30 years. Conventional MRI ‘closed’ systems were developed so that the patient can be scanned and examined in an enclosed tunnel, with a high-field magnet, or between two large magnetized plates in a low–field, ‘open’ system.
Unlike the most commonly used traditional closed MRI scanners, the open Upright MRI, commonly called the Stand-Up MRI, lets the patient sit, bend, stand, or even lay down for their scan. Upright MRI scans are ideal for claustrophobic patients, those who struggle to lay flat for long periods, and those who are unable to fit comfortably into a conventional closed MRI scanner due to their size.
The groundbreaking design of the Upright MRI scanner lets patients just walk in and be scanned. The Upright MRI is suitable to scan all parts of the body, especially the spine and joints, in the weight-bearing state. The scanner is fitted with an exclusive patient handling system that moves the patient into the magnet and positions the anatomy of interest in the middle of the magnetic field. It also can rotate the vertically orientated patient into the horizontal position (or any angle in between). Thus, the patient can be easily scanned lying down as in a traditional MRI setting.
Since the patient is typically upright (either sitting or standing in a special chair) or at say, a 30-degree angle, and has a clear view in front of them, issues with claustrophobia are effectively eliminated. It has also been found that patients who cannot tolerate conventional ‘open’ MR scanners have been scanned with reported no uneasiness in the Upright MRI system.
Benefits of Upright MRI
The Upright MRI scan offers the following benefits:
- Claustrophobia is not an issue with the Upright MRI scanner
- The Upright MRI can be used in a range of clinical situations where traditional MRI is unsuitable
- It can sometimes expose pathology not identified by the conventional MRI