• Frequently Asked Questions
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Questions about magnetic resonance imaging and truly open MRI

What is an Upright MRI and how does it work?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, and is a modern cross-sectional imaging method which uses the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance. Unlike in a CT scan, for example, magnetic fields and radio waves are used to generate the images, instead of X-rays. This technology makes it possible to produce cross-sectional images in a non-invasive manner (without intervention in the body), almost any part of the body in any desired angle and direction in a relatively short time.

MRI images are excellent for showing soft tissue. For example, not only can the bony vertebrae of the spinal column be shown but also the intervertebral discs, ligament structures and nerves.

Thanks to the truly open design of the Upright MRI, it is also possible for the first time, to conduct an examination such as of the spinal column under natural weight-bearing load and also in different body positions.

I have heard that many MRI scans trigger a sense of being in a confined space. What's it like with the Upright MRI?

The Upright MRI is truly open. There are no tunnels, no narrow tubes. The system is particularly quiet, the examination is comfortable and does not trigger feelings of being in a confined space. This means that the Upright MRI is particularly tolerated by patients who suffer from “claustrophobia”.

Because the system offers you an unrestricted view, you can watch TV or see DVD movies on a large screen during the scan. Wearing headphones – as with other MRI systems – is usually not necessary.

Is an MRI scan dangerous?

According to the current state of knowledge, there is no danger to the patient’s health as magnetic resonance imaging only uses magnetic fields and radio waves.

Cardiac pacemakers, insulin pumps and cochlear implants can malfunction in the magnetic field, for example, the pacemaker may no longer function properly or may not function at all. Therefore, patients with heart pacemakers cannot be examined unless their pacemaker is MRI compatible.

Metallic foreign bodies within the patient, such as fixed dental prosthesis, artificial joints or metal plates after treatment for a fracture do not usually pose any danger. However, it is important to clarify that the implants you use are MRI-compatible before the examination.

How long does an examination last?

This depends above all on which part of the body needs to be examined. In the Upright MRI, special examinations can be carried out in various body positions. The entire scan generally takes between 30 and 45 minutes. However, since you have the opportunity to watch TV or DVD, this time will go by much quicker.

Is an MRI examination painful? Will I feel something?

You will not feel anything. In contrast to conventional MRI scans, the Upright MRI is quiet and very convenient to use. It does not produce any feelings of being in a confined spice and is therefore also particularly suitable for patients who suffer from “claustrophobia”.

Do I have to sit completely still during the examination?

As still as possible. The less you move during the examination, the better the MRI images. If the movement is too strong, the images become blurred or out of focus and prevent a diagnosis from being made based on these images. Individual images may have to be retaken.

Can someone stay with me during the examination?

Yes. Our Upright MRI is truly open. There is enough space for a companion. The person can even hold your hand and communicate with you during the examination. This is particularly beneficial when examining children. As the companion is exposed to the magnetic field of the scanner to the same extent as the patient, please make sure that the MRI room is safe for the person (heart pacemaker).

How can I prepare for the MRI examination?

Unless otherwise instructed by your doctor or health care professional, you can take your medicine 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. These include jewellery, keys, watches, coins, spectacles as well as removable hearing aids, dental and other prostheses. Credit cards should not be placed near the MRI magnet as the information stored on the card can be erased.

Do I have to wear special clothing? What should I wear?

When choosing the right clothing for an MRI examination, you should pay particular attention to the fact that any kind of metal can adversely affect the quality of the MRI images. We recommend you wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable.

For examinations in the chest and head area, you should not wear clothing and underwear with metal hooks or fasteners such as bras with metal hangers or tops with metal decorations. All metal objects such as hair clips, earrings and jewellery in the facial area (piercings) must be removed before the examination.

The same applies to examinations in the lower part of the spine and the hip; here too, clothing or underwear with metal parts should not be worn, such as trousers with metal buttons or zip fasteners or a body with fasteners in the crotch. Piercings in these body regions must also be removed.

Occasionally, make-up may interfere with examinations of the head or neck area (some products contain metal particles). Please inform our staff before the examination if you have a “permanent make-up”.

Will I get an injection?

Usually not. For special questions, however, it may be necessary to administer a contrast medium to facilitate a more accurate diagnosis. For example, MRI images of parts of the body with scar tissue from previous operations can often be better assessed.

The contrast medium is injected intravenously into the arm. The injection is performed by qualified medical personnel. The injection of the contrast medium may cause side effects. If you are administered a contrast medium, you will be informed about possible side effects before the injection.

When will I get the results?

You will receive the images taken directly after the procedure. The written report will be sent directly to your doctor or health care professional.

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