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Upright MRI

The Upright Multi-Position™ MRI marks a new era in patient comfort, too. For MRI's of the head and spine, the patient simply walks in, sits down, and watches TV during the scan. So anxious patients relax and even claustrophobic patients comply with ease.

Today, radiologists and surgeons are seeing revealing images they’ve never seen before, diagnosing spinal and other problems that have often been invisible on recumbent-only MRI’s, and improving surgical outcomes to a degree never before possible – all thanks to the first MRI that lets you put the body in motion, so scans can be done the way people live and experience problems, instead of just lying flat.


Some problems are detectable only when the patient is in an upright position. These are lumbar spine images of a patient who had undergone back sugery but was continuing to experience pain.

This problem was visible only when the patient was scanned upright and would have gone undiagnosed on a conventional, lie-down MRI scanner.

Images Courtesy of M. Rose, MD; Rose Radiology Centers

This new era in diagnosis is possible because of the unique power of the Upright Multi-Position™ MRI. It’s the first MRI that has the power to provide a full range-of-motion diagnosis – with the nerves, discs, and other soft tissue in clear view. It achieves truly physiologic MRI, instead of recumbent-only, static MRI.

Upright MRI Positions


In the photo from top left to right then bottom left to right, are some of the positions available with an Upright MRI.

  • 1. Upright cervical spine - extension

  • 2. Upright cervical spine - flexion

  • 3. Upright lumbar spine - flexion

  • 4. Recumbent imaging for spines, hips, pelvis, abdomen, knee, ankle, etc.

  • 5. Inclined shoulder

  • 6. Recumbent shoulder

  • 7. Inclined knee

Upright Imaging Is A Powerful Diagnostic Tool

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Now, there’s a way you can see the spine in flexion and extension – with the nerves, discs, and other soft tissue in clear view. The revolutionary Fonar Upright® Multi-Position™ MRI. In fact, with the Fonar Upright® Multi-Position™ MRI, you can see the spine fully loaded with the weight of the body – which studies indicate creates up to 11 times more pressure on the discs when compared to laying down. (A. L. Nachemson, 1976; H. J. Wilke et al, 1999).

Most MRI exams are still performed in a recumbent-only MRI. In an important book from The American Medical Association, Guides To The Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Press, 2006), the authors provide ample indication why you must see the spine in flexion and extension to diagnose pathology.

The book notes: (a) “The dominant motions at both the lower cervical and entire lumbar spine, where most clinical pathology occurs, are flexion-extension” (p. 378) and (b) “… in up to 85% of individuals who report back pain, no pain-producing pathology can be identified” (p. 566)

No wonder the director of the largest orthopedic hospital in the Netherlands and chairman of spine surgery, Dr. Paul Pavlov, stated: “… once Fonar made available upright weight-bearing MRI imaging technology, owning one for the St. Maartenskliniek “Spine Center” was not optional, but mandatory. For our hospital to continue to engage in spine surgery without it, once this new technology became available, was unacceptable.”

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