Stand-up MRI and 6 More Useful Things to Know about Imaging

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Aren’t X-rays and MRI’s infallible?

I used to think that imaging is the one certain thing in medicine. A friend’s broken pelvis taught me differently. It was fractured, whether we had evidence of it or not. I was one of the people who believed in her the whole time, but her treatment would certainly have been drastically different if her doctors had.

My neck has been giving me more trouble than ever. The Radio Frequency Ablation from last summer must be wearing out again. A few weeks of Oh it will get better has not made it so. Like many of us, I dread the next MRI. Here are a few things to remember when the time comes.

7 things to consider when you get imaging such as MRI

1) MRI to detect inflammation. Researchers in Greece studied the The usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging of the hand and wrist in very early rheumatoid arthritis. Very early Rheumatoid Arthritis or VERA is characterized by bone edema, synovitis, and marginal erosions that cannot be assessed by x-rays. They found that “MRI, by detecting these lesions, may play an important role in the management of these patients.”

2) Position. A radiographic technologist explained to me the importance of diverse positions for x-rays to be of any value with RA. She said my x-ray order would only have been sufficient if I had been in a car accident, but not for RA. Imaging can be done from various angles or sides with certain machines such as the stand-up MRI. X-rays and ultrasound can also be done with motion. I haven’t had it done, but patients and technicians tell me it’s possible. And I’ve read about it in fairy tales journals.

Coronal short term inversion recovery scan3) She also described the benefits of stand-up MRI, especially with the spine. If that procedure is new to you, you’ll love this page full of case studies about what a difference the stand-up MRI made for some patients. You will be STUNNED at the impact the stand-up MRI made in so many diagnoses and treatment decisions.

4) Musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) is operator dependant, requires extensive experience, and few are expert at its use yet in the States.

5) Save hamburger buns for hamburgers. The “hamburger bun” is a type of MRI that makes a patient the middle of the sandwich. It is slightly less invasive than a tunnel-shaped MRI. However, unless the problem is very simple or the time in the machine is intentionally extended, the lower quality image is makes it the wrong choice for many.

6) Different imaging tools are more appropriate with different anatomical parts or particular conditions. For example “MSUS may be used for investigating median nerve impingement by detecting nerve swelling proximal to the point of compression” or “for quantifying cartilage within the joint spaces;” while “In most joint regions, MRI is better than MSUS for finding erosions,” The Pros and Cons of Ultrasonography for Rheumatologic Conditions.

7) The stars have to be aligned properly. Seriously, nothing is foolproof – even imaging. All tests must be performed, read, and interpreted correctly. And patients’ symptoms must be paramount.

Note: The March issue of The Spear, my personal newsletter went out over the weekend. If you did not receive one, you can click here and I’ll send you one. You’ll read more about the wild verbena flower image created in honor of my mom’s birthday. I’ve turned it into some lovely t-shirts that could make beautiful Mother’s Day gifts – click here to see them. (Most of them are there now and more are on the way!)

NOTE: THE NEW RA WARRIOR T-SHIRT STORE IS HERE – Click here!

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Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also http://www.rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

4 thoughts on “Stand-up MRI and 6 More Useful Things to Know about Imaging

  • April 2, 2012 at 5:06 am
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    I can appreciate the standing MRI and definately understand it. In my case, wow, there is no way I could handle that. I can’t stand unassisted at all so the thought of it is scary.

    However those that are able to handle it, I really hope it will help and get some more accurate answers for people!

    Reply
  • April 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm
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    Another great technical review. Thanks, Kelly. I hope my new rheumy is willing to go forward with further visualization, such as MSUS, since I am always seronegative & the xrays don’t show much & it’s been 3 years of pain & I don’t want to be told of the wonders of extra strength acetaminophen. Again.

    Reply
    • April 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm
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      Marge, I am sero-negative as well. I was diagnosed by ultrasound so hopefully your new doctor will be willing to go another route than what has been tried with you so far.

      And if it were me, I’d tell them no thanks on the acetaminophen, you’re protecting your liver so when they finally do come to the conclusion that you have RAD, you can move forward with treatment!

      Reply
  • December 17, 2014 at 11:09 am
    Permalink

    The standing MRI will be able to assist many people, but it is not without its flaws. As someone else pointed out, there are those who cannot stand unassisted for very long.

    Great technical review!

    Reply

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