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Upright MRI Found My Problem

Dava AnneDDava Anne Posts: 28
I had my upright MRI on Wednesday and finally got a copy of the report yesterday. I have had several regular lay down type MRS'S over the last 2 years which have shown some minor disc bulging at L5-S1,L4-L5, and some foraminal narrowing, but my neuro says these shouldn't be causing all my butt/leg pain. Since most of my pain is when I am up and not when I'm laying down my PT suggested I should have an upright MRI to see what is going on in my spine while it's under a load. My neuro wouldn't write me a script for this but my PCP did.
The upright MRI report shows the following:
1. Prior left L5 partial laminectomy.
2. Dextroconvex scoliosis.
3. L2-L3 disc hydration loss with posterior disc bulging.
4. L3-L4 posterior disc bulge on the left to narrow left anteroinferior foramina.
5. L4-L5 posterior disc herniation to the left with abutment of the exiting nerve root.
6. L5-S1 diminished disc space height and disc hydration loss with posterior disc herniation and poterior osseous ridging with facet and ligamentum flavum hypertropic change and narrowing of the right with impression on the exiting root.
I haven't heard from neuro yet concerning this report but my PT did call me and said now we know what is causing my pain. If I hadn't had this upright MRI done I might not have found out what was going on in my spine while under a load. If anyone is having problems and no reason is found with a regular lay down type MRI, it might be worth it to get an upright one done. Now I just have to wait to see what my neuro will have to say. Dava


  • Thank you for posting. You give me courage to insist on having one. I wonder why the spinal specialists do not believe in upright MRIs? Both my surgeons said the same thing when I asked about having an upright MRI. It isn't that easy to even find a place that has the equipment.

    Did you find it awfully painful? Are you actually standing like you would for an Extension X-ray??

    I'm so glad this technical equipment has helped to locate the source of your pain.

    xx Gwennie
  • Wonderful they found out what was happening with your spine when you are standing up. Keep us posted as to what your NS says about it.

    Best to you,

  • that was really interesting. and i am glad you now have found the cause of your pain. as a person who has trouble staying still during mri...how are they able to keep your body steady?i
  • I had a sitting MRI two years ago. Afterwards, I collapsed on the floor; I could not make it out of the technician's space for 20 minutes until the pain subsided. The machine was 0.7 Tesla versus 3.0 Tesla for current supine MRI machines. The lower magnetic field means lower resolution, and I had three neurosurgeons disagree on whether there was scar impinging on the nerve root in the MRI images. I ended up with a recommendation that surgery would not help me.
  • I am hoping that when I hear from my neuro he will now be able to give me options to correct my problems. I did not have to stand for this scan but was seated. It really was better than the laying down type MRI (except for the sitting part). The front is completely open and I got to watch a big screen tv while the scan was being done. It didn't seem to take as long to me even with the contrast compared to the other scans I've had, but maybe because I was watching tv which takes your mind off the scan itself.
    I was worried that my insurance wouldn't cover it, but they did. I don't know how many of these are located around the country (I'm located by Albany, NY).
    I found out about it from a tv commercial on our local station. If anyone is interested in visiting the web site about the scan I just had, PM me and I will give it to you. It shows all about this scan and the locations around the country. There you can also watch the commercial they have on tv. Even if this company doesn't have a scanner in your area some other company might. I asked what the problem was the woman in the commercial had and they told me she had a fusion and was still in the same pain. All the regular lay down type MRI's didn't show anything was wrong but when she had the upright MRI done it showed the hardware was moving out of alignment when the spine was loaded. They took her back into surgery and corrected the hardware and now she is pain free. It makes me wonder how many other people could be having the same problem that hasn't been found by the regular MRI's. Dava
  • I've had 3 MRIs and each time I've asked my doc 'isn't it inaccurate since I'm laying down? I feel my back move and pop when I lay down so it's got to be showing *wrong* images..". Of course I was blown off all three times. I asked one of the MRI techs too, who just shrugged. I'm glad to have seen this post.

    Position dependent pain certainly should require positional diagnosis, right? Good stuff. Hopefully it becomes mainstream soon, seems a no-brainer for spineys.

  • Currently there are only around 100 "positional" MRI machines in the US. They are similar to the open MRIs and the magnets are not as strong as in a standard MRI...thus, the images are not as clear or detailed.

    I am having one in two weeks so will have a better understanding of the procedure and results after that point. I can't wait!
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