The standing MRI machine is a high-end diagnostic imaging technique that allows doctors to assess the neurological functions of their patients. To know more, read ahead.
The human brain and spinal cord are responsible for controlling nearly every bodily function and movement, which could result in complications and problems if damaged. Doctors use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify neurological damage due to stroke or physical injury, as well as tumors and other space-occupying lesions within the central nervous system. In conventional MRI machines, patients lie down on a table while an exam takes place inside a large tube—an intrusive procedure that may take up to 30 minutes—and follow orders from a technician inside the converted bus that serves as an MRI control room.
A standing MRI machine in East Brunswick, NJ, however, allows patients to stand upright (most examinations take about 20 minutes) and move freely without an enclosed gantry or tube. This lets patients breathe naturally and converse comfortably with the technician. The standing MR machine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center is one of two such machines in use in the United States; it was installed on August 10, 2007, and has been used more than 1,200 times since then.
Today’s MRI scanners offer a number of benefits over older standard-tube models: they produce more detailed images, require shorter exam time for patients, and create less stress on those who undergo testing. Doctors may recommend an MRI scan as soon as they find evidence of neurological damage in a patient, particularly if the damage is in an area that is difficult to assess with other tests. MRI scans can be used to measure the size of a tumor, look for blood clots, and track the effects of treatment on the brain or spine.
So far, research has shown that standing MRIs are just as accurate as traditional tube MRIs in diagnosing neurological problems. In fact, one study found that patients with multiple sclerosis who underwent a standing MRI scan showed significantly more improvement on neurological rating scales than those who received a standard MRI scan. The researchers believe that the improved images produced by the standing MRI machine may have allowed for more accurate diagnosis and better treatment decisions.