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What is an Upright Positional MRI and why should patients request one?


24th Mar 2019 Health Conditions

What is an Upright Positional MRI and why should patients request one?

We all know stories of people who have had a horrible time inside a claustrophobic MRI tunnel but unfortunately, as we age, this becomes something that we all may have to face. Happily, there is now an alternative!

An Upright MRI system is very different to the conventional narrow ‘tunnel’ that requires you to slide inside and which many people find uncomfortably hemmed-in and cramped. Scans can now be carried out sitting or standing in a natural weight-bearing position. 

In many cases, this provides a more conclusive diagnosis than MRIs where you are lying down. And for anyone suffering from claustrophobia or who is unable to lie down comfortably, the open fronted scanner is ideal. Even the head coils for brain scans, are designed to allow a clear view of the surrounding area outside the scanner at all times – and a friend or relative is welcome to stay with you in the room.


You can even watch TV on a large 50” screen whilst the scan is taking place.  And the scanning machine itself is far quieter than conventional scanners too.

Indeed, Upright Positional MRI provides medical benefits not duplicated by any other MRI technology, especially for spinal problems.The vertebral discs are exposed to a pressure that is 11 times greater when sitting and 8 times greater when standing compared with lying down.  Because of its open nature, the scanner allows patients to have their spinal column scanned when bending forwards, stretching backwards, twisting and even crouching to the point where pain is at its most acute.

Spinal canal and nerve exits can be examined in greater detail while they are in natural weight-bearing positions.  They may have a normal width while lying down but be seen to be narrowed during the stretching or bending of the spine.

Knees, hips, feet and ankles will all benefit from a weight-bearing scan, as patients often complain about pain only when standing or walking. 

Additionally, an Upright MRI can show pelvic floor problems when scanned in a weight-bearing position and it is also a radiation-free way to evaluate scoliosis (curvature of the spine) while standing.

Medserena Centres in London and Manchester are equipped with state-of-the-art Upright Open MRI scanners.  There are only a handful of such facilities across the UK and they offer a full range of examinations from brain, spine and joints to whiplash, prostate and pelvic floor.

It is also the only company in the UK to specialise in scanning patients with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a chronic connective tissue disorder that is characterised by hypermobility.

Medserena offers this innovative technology to private, insured and NHS patients where funding has been agreed. Tel: 020 7370 6003 or email: london@trulyopenmri.com

For more information visit: https://www.trulyopenmri.com

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Man seated in Medserena Upright Open MRI scanner.jpg