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What is a Stand up MRI?

Misty Wiser
Misty Wiser

A stand up magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is a multi-positional device used to scan the body for abnormalities and produce three-dimensional images of the body. Scans can take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour, depending on the area being scanned. Stand up MRIs are useful for people that do not like the closed in sensation of traditional recumbent MRI machines. Some stand up MRIs have a television within the visual field of the patient to make the experience more comfortable.

The preparation process for a stand up MRI scan is simple. Before the scan begins, all metal jewelry and piercings must be removed. Some make-up has metallic particulates, and needs to be removed before the scan can begin. Titanium plates and screws are not affected by the magnetic field of the MRI machine. People with pacemakers implanted are not able to undergo MRI scanning because the equipment may interfere with the device's functional ability.

A MRI scan of the brain.
A MRI scan of the brain.

Conventional MRIs require sedation for the very young. Scans must be made when the patient is very still so that accurate three-dimensional images can be made. Stand up MRIs allow the parent to hold the child still, eliminating the need for anesthesia. The magnet in the stand up MRI is mobile and can be moved to the optimum scanning position, allowing the patient to sit comfortably.

For a stand up MRI scan, all metal jewelry and piercings must be removed.
For a stand up MRI scan, all metal jewelry and piercings must be removed.

During the scan, a person may notice sudden loud noises. They generally sound like clicks or beeps. The sounds are perfectly normal, and indicate the machine is operating correctly. Noises made by the stand up MRI are caused by the gradient coils expanding and contracting when the machine is in use. Technicians may wear protective headgear during the scan to protect their hearing from repeated exposure to the sounds.

Most stand up MRI scans are performed without the use of contrast dyes. The contrast dye used for a MRI is different from the ones used for other imaging equipment. This is beneficial for patients with impaired renal functioning, as the dyes used for other x-rays and computer tomography (CT) scans are processed through the kidneys and may cause further damage.

Side effects of the stand up MRI are rare. One of the reported effects is peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS). The painful twitching is caused by the rapidly moving current, which translates vibrations to the nerves in the area of the scan. PNS symptoms will usually subside shortly after the scan is completed.

The stand up MRI scan has not been shown to have adverse affects on pregnant women. A MRI scan is used to diagnose fetal birth defects that may be able to be corrected through fetal surgery. The scan may be useful for determining a delivery plan for unborn babies that have congenital abnormalities that make birth a risky process. Contrast dyes are not used for pregnant women because the dye passes through the placenta and may harm the baby.

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    • A MRI scan of the brain.
      By: Marcin Sadlowski
      A MRI scan of the brain.
    • For a stand up MRI scan, all metal jewelry and piercings must be removed.
      By: Concept web Studio
      For a stand up MRI scan, all metal jewelry and piercings must be removed.