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"Stand up" MRI versus conventional MRI

CMCCM Posts: 100
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
A couple of years ago I had an MRI because I was having numbness and pain in my hand. This was after I had had a laminectomy. According to the surgeon, the MRI looked normal. The surgeon sent me to a neurologist who sent me for PT. After weeks of PT with no improvement, the neurosurgeon ordered a myelogram. The myelogram finally showed the herniation. So, I don't think of much of MRIs. I've heard and read about "stand up" MRIs. They can do an MRI on you while you are standing up. The idea is that it gives a better indication of the state of your spine while it is bearing the weight of your body. This makes sense to me, but my surgeon says the images from that type of MRI are not very good.

I would like to hear from anyone else who has had a stand up MRI. My questions are:

1. Did your doctor recommend it, or did you request it despite your doctor's reluctance?

2. Did your stand up MRI show a disc herniation that a previous regular type MRI did not snow?

3. Has anyone had a stand-up MRI where the images were so unclear that your doctor had to order a regular MRI afterwards?

I think I would rather have an MRI that is more accurate even if the image is not as clear. But, I am reluctant to go against my doctor's advice.


  • I cannot tell you statistically, but stand up MRI is very rare. I live in an area of just shy of one million people with a number of top notch hospitals, and there is no facility in the area that does standing MRIs. I don't know if this is because doctors do not order them, or if doctors do not order them because there is no facility to do them.

    Part of the problem is getting the patient to remain still for the 45 minutes it takes to do the imaging. If the body so much as twitches, the MRI can be useless, so this could be a big problem for someone to stand when he/she is already in pain.

    A friend of mine traveled some distance to have one after her discectomy left her with unresolved pain. Unfortunately, it did not show anything different from her standard MRI. Her doctor did suggest it to her (she is a physician, also).

    I've only seen standing MRI mentioned once or twice since I've been on this board, but perhaps someone will chime in with their experiences!
  • Gwennie, thank you for your reply. I just read that there is a device that can be used with a regular MRI that will place compression on your spine while you are lying down. The device is called an "axial compression frame". From the pictures I've seen it appears you wear a vest with straps connected to it. The other ends of the straps are connected to devices that pull the straps. This causes the vest to pull your body toward your feet, which are placed against a platform. Dials show them how much compression is being applied. This is supposed to simulate axial compression while still allowing your to have an MRI lying down. I did a Google search for such an MRI in my area, but did not find one. :-(
  • Web site did not reply so I clicked "Post comment" again, resulting in a duplicate post. I can't delete it, but I can edit it, so that is what I am doing. Bottom line: Ignore this post.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,833
    from a stand up MRI machine can not match up to the details provided by the conventional MRI machines. The magnets are not powerful enough to provide the details. There has been many improvements in the stand up version and from what I have read in a year or two these units will compare the the lay down units.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • HI, I've had a seated MRI in one of those machines, the images were clear and it showed the herniations clearer than the conventional open MRI, but like gwennie17 said, you have to be very still for 40+ minutes and while in pain...it's not fun to say the least.
  • hello - i live near orlando and there are quite a few stand up mri facilities around. i have had several of these for my lower lumbar and they came out very clear.
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