Central Texas Leader in Weight-Bearing MRI

Innovations in medical technology have long allowed physicians to gain a more accurate look inside the human body with the CT scan, X-ray, and MRI. More recently, the revelatory innovation of weight-bearing MRIs, as opposed to traditional MRIs, has significantly improved patient experience during scans. An MRI is used to examine soft tissue, joints, and organs inside the body by providing detailed images of any pathologies, tumors, and anomalies that may be present. These scans are an invaluable resource for diagnosing illness and disease.

The weight-bearing MRI, or upright MRI, was developed in 1996, and has greatly improved upon the design and functionality of traditional, or supine, MRIs. While supine MRIs that require patients to be slid into an enclosed scanner were shown to cause claustrophobia in 30% of people, weight-bearing MRIs allow a patient to simply stand or sit between two magnetic imaging devices. In a sitting position, the machine can tilt you at any angle necessary to achieve the most accurate read. Weight-bearing MRIs also allow an open view into the rest of the room, so anxieties about potential claustrophobia are alleviated. 

However, these innovative machines can only be found in select hospitals and treatment centers. Fortunately, Longhorn Imaging houses the only weight-bearing MRI in Central Texas. If you have any questions between a traditional MRI or weight-bearing MRI scan, contact Longhorn Imaging and speak to one of our friendly, caring staff members. We can answer any questions you may have and tell you what to expect during your visit at our comfortable, spa-like imaging center.

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Advantages of a weight-bearing MRI

Scans from a weight-bearing MRI can give a clearer diagnostic read than a traditional MRI since it can recreate bodily positions that normally induce pain in a patient, making it easier to determine the cause of discomfort. This can provide visibility into anomalies that might go undetected in a horizontal position. The upright machine more accurately depicts the body in weight-bearing states, presenting a realistic view of the body when gravity is imposed on it, which is particularly useful when examining the spine and joints as it gives you the ability to be scanned in positions where your symptoms are most likely to arise. Additional benefits include:

  • Improved patient experience (not subjected to an enclosed space)
  • More accurate images from a weight-bearing state
  • Inclusivity (may be used by patients who are obese or claustrophobic)
  • Generally faster than a traditional MRI
  • Manipulation of body position (may tilt you at any angle necessary)

The magnets in traditional MRIs usually have a higher field of strength than a weight-bearing MRI, so they may provide more detailed images of your scan. Additionally, your condition might be better suited to being scanned in a horizontal position, in which case a traditional MRI may serve you more effectively. As always, it is best to consult with a medical provider or licensed radiologist when determining the most effective course of action for your condition. 

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How is a weight-bearing MRI performed?

Weight-bearing MRIs use a combination of radio waves and magnetic fields along with medical imaging technology to capture images from inside the body while simulating a stand-up position. It is incredibly helpful in uncovering certain issues that are typically not detectable during a traditional MRI.

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