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Anyone ever had a Stand-up MRI?

jim863jjim863 Posts: 29
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I have been having recurring disc compression problems, most recently at C7-T1. the pain, burning and tingling is most pronounced when standing. I also think there is something going on at either C4 or above as I constantly have pain and discomfort on rotation. I have gone to the orthopedist who did my 2 surgeries in 2008 and he is confused. The MRI showed no abnormality, herniation or possible cause of the radiculopathy. Yesterday I had a selective nerve root block injection which was not the most pleasant of experiences :> but I'll have to wait at lest two more weeks to see if helps.

I have heard of stand up MRI machines and am wanting to see if the doc can Rx one for me. My symptoms are pronounced upon standing, not so much while lying down on the machine. The ortho guy is confused because the test results from earlier in September were inconclusive. And that's when I started thinking of one of these machines.

Thanks for your help.

Jim in CT


  • Hi Jim

    I had my MRIs (knee,shoulder and back) done in a stand-up MRI machine. I did it because I will admit that I am somewhat claustrophobic. I had a knee MRI a few years ago in an open MRI and I couldnt imagine having my head under that. This place was recommended by my orthopaedist when my son had a growth plate injury and he needed to see it weight bearing.

    Basically it is an MRI machine on it's side. YOu are upright in between. Can be sitting or standing or leaning depending on what they are doing.

    One concern that I have heard is that the image quality is not that good. I had one doctor tell me it was horrible but I don't know if that was true or if he just wanted me to go to his MRI office. Two other doctors looked at the films and didn't say anything.

    I would ask your doctor if he is OK with you doing this. I am curious to hear if other doctors have a problem with the quality of the image. Let me know how you make out.
  • Hey,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am scheduled to see the MD next week so I'll see what he has to say and then schedule the MRI.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    Right now, the traditional conventional MRI Tube has the highest quality for images. The Sit down is coming along, still not there yet. The stand up units are the furthest away. But for many diagnosis, they can do the job.
    A lot depends on where the MRI is being taken and if you had prior surgery, so you would need a MRI without and with contrast
    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
  • I just had a "positional" MRI last Friday. The machine can do them in almost any position, sitting, standing, even flexing and extending. I'm not sure how that one works as I wasn't allowed to move a muscle during my standing MRI. And, it was sheer agony. I could feel my muscles starting to cramp up after just a few minutes...and I was so afraid he would stop and I would have to start over...or the images would be blurry.

    I had the first two scans and a "scout image" standing, which was about 12 minutes...then they gave me a break. I then had about 5 five minute scans sitting...then a break while I was injected with gadolinium, and two more five minute scans. You are not allowed to move in between the scans as they all have to line up perfectly -- that means not even shifting a foot slightly or moving your head. UGH.

    I should have realized that since I have my worst pain when standing, that it would be REALLY difficult to stand still for any length of time. The tech told me he had two people faint last week...so it is hard for many people.

    There are only 100 machines of this type in the US so you may have to travel to find one.

    Three surgeons told me it was not worth it -- but I'm not sure if that is because we don't have the procedure offered in our city, and they aren't that familiar with them, or if they really feel the quality of the image isn't that much better. I don't have my radiology report back yet, so don't know if it was worth it, or not. I do know that it was much harder than a typical, lying down MRI, which I do not mind at all.

    I would think this would be easier with cervical issues. My pain is all running down my legs and they started cramping up almost immediately. I hope you can find a facility in your area. I think it is one more piece of information for your doctor to have available to make an accurate diagnosis.

    xx Gwennie
  • I know what you mean about staying still. It is very difficult to stay still when you know you have to. I started to hyperventalate. THis probably contributes to lower quality in the images but I think the software in the equipment probably can adjust for that.

    My feeling is that the neurosurgeon was looking for any excuse to get rid of me. I wasn't bad enough for him to bother with.....

    We have at least 5 offices in my area with this type of MRI and I can usually get in within a day or so. Once again I forget that there are some benefits for living in the metro NY area :)
  • When I had mine done last month I was allowed to sit so it wasn't that bad. I couldn't imagine having to stand through it. Mine did find 2 herniated disks with nerve root impingement that the lay down type didn't show.

    I have always had open MRI's so don't know if the closed type might have picked up things the open type might have missed. I had my upright MRI done because my pain is only when I'm up and my spine is loaded. I have also heard about some Drs. saying the "open types" don't have as good a resolution, but none of the Drs. I have seen have ever mentioned this to me. In fact my neuro has sent others to this upright MRI.

    Kris I am also in NY but from upstate and I am lucky we had one close to me. Dava

  • I have literally no curve left in my neck. A recumbent MRI showed *nothing* abnormal in so far as my disks were concerned. I asked for and was prescribed to get a "Positional" stand up MRI. It showed the herniation, spondylosis, spurs etc. wonderfully! The quality of the images was fine - not really any lessor quality than the "regular" MRI images. As was stated in an earlier post, there aren't a lot of them around yet, so you might have to travel. I'm lucky that I only have to drive an hour to get one - and it's worth it.

    I am 7 weeks post surgical for fusion C6/7 with symptoms returning. Due to this I have been scheduled for a follow-up stand up MRI next week. I have a ton of confidence in the stand up over the recumbent. Remember, it shows the doctor what you look like IN the position that brings said symptoms. Take care.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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