Questions about magnetic resonance imaging and truly open MRI
MRI stands for magnetic resonance tomography, also known as nuclear spin tomography, and is a modern sectional imaging procedure that makes use of the principles of so-called nuclear magnetic resonance. Unlike computer tomography, for example, no X-rays are used to generate the images, but magnetic fields and radio waves. With the help of this technique, slice images of almost any part of the body can be produced at any angle and in any direction in a relatively short time in a non-invasive way (without intervention in the body).
MRI images show soft tissues excellently. For example, not only the bony vertebrae of the spine can be depicted, but also the intervertebral discs, the ligament structures and the nerves.
The completely open design of the upright MRI makes it possible for the first time to examine the spine under natural weight load and in different postures.
The upright MRI is completely open. There are no tunnels, no narrow tubes. The device is particularly quiet, comfortable to use and does not cause feelings of constriction. This makes the upright MRI especially tolerated by patients with so-called “claustrophobia”.
Because the unit allows you full freedom of movement and an unrestricted view out of the system. You can follow the current TV programme or watch DVD films on a large monitor during the examination. Wearing headphones – as with other MRI systems – is usually not necessary.
According to the current state of knowledge, there is no health risk to the patient, as only magnetic fields and radio waves are used in magnetic resonance imaging.
Cardiac pacemakers, insulin pumps and cochlear implants can malfunction in the magnetic field so that, for example, the pacemaker subsequently no longer functions properly or not at all. Therefore, patients with pacemakers cannot be examined.
In contrast to tube MRI, metallic foreign bodies inside the patient, such as fixed dentures, artificial joints or metal plates after fracture treatment, do not usually pose a risk. However, it should be clarified before the examination whether the implants used in your case are suitable for upright MRI.
This depends mainly on which part of the body is to be examined. With the upright MRI we use, special examinations can be carried out in different body postures. Normally, the entire examination takes between 30 and 45 minutes. However, as you have the opportunity to watch television or a DVD during the entire examination, this time will seem much shorter to you.
You will not feel anything. In contrast to conventional MRI scanners, the upright MRI is quiet and very comfortable to use. It does not cause any feelings of constriction and is therefore also particularly suitable for patients with so-called “claustrophobia”.
As quietly as possible. The less you move during the examination, the better the MRI images will be. If you move too much, the images will be blurred or out of focus, so that no diagnosis is possible on the basis of these images. If necessary, individual images may have to be repeated.
Yes, our upright MRI is completely open. There is enough space for an accompanying person. They can even hold your hand and communicate with you during the examination. This is particularly advantageous when examining small children. Since the accompanying person is exposed to the magnetic field of the scanner to the same extent as the patient, please make sure beforehand that the stay in the MRI room is not dangerous for this person (pacemaker).
Unless you have received other instructions from your doctor, you can take your medication as usual. There are no restrictions on food or drink. The only preparation is that all removable metal objects must be taken off before entering the MRI room. This includes jewellery, keys, watches, coins, glasses as well as removable hearing aids, dentures and other prostheses. Credit cards should not be allowed near the MRI magnet as the information stored on the card will be erased.
When choosing the right clothing for an MRI examination, the main thing you should consider is that any kind of metal can affect the quality of the MRI images. We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing so that you feel at ease.
During examinations of the chest and head area, you should not wear any clothing or underwear with metal hooks or fasteners, such as bras with metal underwires or tops with metal decorations. All metal objects such as hair clips, earrings and jewellery in the facial area (piercings) must be taken off before the examination.
The same applies to examinations of the lower spine and hips; here, too, no clothing or underwear with metal parts should be worn, such as trousers with metal buttons or zips or a bodysuit with press studs at the crotch. Piercings in these body regions must also be removed.
Occasionally, examinations of the head or neck area may be affected by make-up (some products contain metal particles). Please inform our staff before the examination if you have “permanent make-up”.
As a rule, not. However, for special questions it may be necessary to administer a contrast medium to the patient to enable a correct diagnosis. This will be discussed with you and the radiologist before the examination. For example, MRI images of body parts with scar tissue from a previous operation can often be better assessed.
The contrast medium is injected intravenously into the arm. The injection is performed by qualified medical personnel. The contrast medium injection may have side effects. If a contrast medium is used on you, you will be fully informed about possible side effects before the injection.
As a rule, immediately. Our radiologist will then discuss the results of the examination directly with you on the basis of the images taken. You will receive the images taken by you directly. The written findings will also be sent directly to your attending doctor.