Saturday, June 09, 2007

Upright Imaging

A new era in MRI comfort:
Walk in,
Sit down,
Watch TV.
--Ad for Fonar upright imaging system

I've ordered a lot of MRIs for patients. I've watched patients hauled out of the MRI screaming, seizing, and hemorrhaging on the TV show House. This past week, however, was the first time I actually had an MRI. I expected the tiny space, but no one warned me about the noise.

The doctors on House usually discuss their sex lives while monitoring their patients' procedures. In fact, no one would be discussing sex or anything else in the vicinity of an MRI due to the racket of the machine. I'd imagined a coffin, but never knew about the jackhammer working just over my head. The earphones and piped-in music are just a pre-procedure ploy of no use whatsoever during the exam.

So now the Fonar Upright advertises itself for my patients uptight. They note their machine allows "imaging a child without anesthesia because the child can sit on his or her mother's lap, imaging claustrophobic patients, and overweight patients, who fit right in...The patient simply walks in, sits down, and watches TV during the scan."

Best of all, apparently, these upright scans can image the back with the spine fully loaded with the weight of the body which creates real-life pressure on squashy discs as opposed to scans done when the patient is lying flat. This enhances the ability of this MRI imaging technique to pick up pain-producing pathology.

Hmm, watching TV, that implies they've also squelched the noise. Maybe patients can watch reruns of House.

No comments: