Types of MRI Machines: Recumbent VS Upright

Types of MRI Machines

The differences in a Recumbent and Upright MRI Machine

Recumbent MRI Machine

Not all types of MRI machines are the same. The most common MRI machine people are familiar with called the recumbent MRI machine where you down inside of it. Recumbent MRI machines range from point five to point three tesla in strength. A tesla is a unit of measurement regarding magnetic strength. A lay-down 3 tesla machine is an extremely sensitive and excellent machine for analyzing all types of injuries, tumors, and other medical conditions.

Upright MRI Machine

Other types of MRI machines are upright or weight-bearing MRIs. An upright MRI is far superior to a lay-down MRI when examining a person’s spine. The reason an upright MRI is better than a lay down MRI for spinal injuries is in an upright MRI, the person is either sitting or standing. This causes gravity to pull down on the spine, which allows us to see how the spine looks when people experience back pain. Most people have pain in their back while sitting or standing as opposed to laying down. A lay-down MRI study may be less accurate in showing spinal injuries. When we lay down, the weight of our body releases from our spine. With the weight off your back, the damaged discs and ligaments fall back into place and look normal.

Lay-Down vs Upright MRI Images

Watch the video above and notice the first scan shown: the person is lying down on their back. Then a few seconds later, the person is sitting up and the spine starts bearing the weight of the body. Even though you take two MRI images of the same exact patient in the same exact MRI machine within a few minutes of each other, the images show two different injuries. One MRI image shows the disc squeezing out of the space where is belongs. This causes pressure on the thecal sac and spinal cord. On the other MRI image taken when the person was lying on their back, the injury was undetectable.

In the video above, there are two more examples of differences in images taken by lay-down and upright MRI machines. They take the first image when the patient was lying down. It shows a normal, healthy brain stem coming down from the skull. In the other image, the patient is upright. This image shows the brain stem moved downward and is lower than a normal, healthy brain stem. Whiplash caused the injury to the brain stem. When the brain stem is lower, the cerebral spinal fluid that bathes the brain cannot flow properly, like a cork in a bottle. Many people with lowered brain stems from whiplash injuries develop headaches and strange neurological symptoms. These types of injuries can only be seen on an upright MRI.

Many people ask me why I care so much about MRI machines as a personal injury lawyer. The answer is simple: I always look for the best way to prove my clients’ injuries to a judge or jury. That is why I have spent a lot of time learning about MRI machines: to help my clients with their injuries and medical treatment. If you have any more questions about the different types of MRI machines, feel free to call me, Matt Powell, at 656-222-2222.