Benefits of Dynamic MRI

Diagnostic technology for Ibuprofen-sucking, donut-squashing, claustrophobic patients.

By Kevin RR Williams

HEALTH What’s the problem with most static radiology? It does not capture variable pressure points. Subsequent viewers of front-facing spinal images may lack the context of whether a patient is standing or supine. Lateral spinal images can be imaged while standing, lying straight, or with knees to chest. Even with knowledge of patient orientation, the area studied can have positional properties.

There are at least to types of dynamic magnetic resonance imaging MRIs. It can refer to static images captured of a patient in a variety of positions. Scanning an extended neck significantly increases cord compression severity compared with standard supine position. Conversely, a patient might remain stationary during multiple images while a concentrated contrast agent is injected. With a dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, the contrast agent is measured as it passes through the brain or from blood vessels into extracellular space of tissues and back to the blood vessels —NCBI.


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Dynamic Imaging Near You

Not all radiology departments have dynamic MRI equipment. Facilities that do may reserve them for claustrophobic patients. Most scanners have a narrow tube through which a patient slides in and out on a conveyer belt. This does not provide much wiggle room for bending or sitting. Manufacturers are offering innovative equipment that allow imaging in a variety of positions. Since most doctors rely on a specific radiology lab, patients may need to inquire about dynamic imaging.

If a photographer came back from the INDYCAR Grand Prix with only images of parked cars you would not get a sense of their speed. Similarly, images of parked bones do not always reveal true medical conditions.

Read: How Accurate is an MRI Report?

Dynamic images are useful in a variety of situations. We depend upon our head and neck for a wide angle of movement. The cervical spine can demonstrate impingement during flexion and twisting. Entwined nerves, muscles and tendons below the lumbar discs make isolating the source of pain difficult. It is important to visualize the weight-bearing coccyx when leaning backwards and forward. By means of dynamic images, doctors are able to diagnose coccydynia (coccalgia, coccygalgia, coccygial, coccygodynia) and sacroiliitis. This more accurately demonstrates mobile disc protrusion or hypermobile coccyx, often overlooked on presumption of pre-pubescent coccyx fusion.

  • Scan in flexion, extension, rotation and lateral bending
  • Scan sitting position
  • Scan lying down
  • Scan patients in their position of pain
  • Scan to prevent discomfort lying down


Upright MRI machine in London.

Dynamic X-rays, or more often dynamic MRIs, are gaining diagnostic significance. A series of images allow the examiner to compare flexion vs. extension or standing vs. sitting. This means that during your next MRI, you do not need to feel like you are being sucked up into a straw. Furthermore, the dynamic radiographs can be more informative to healthcare professionals. This leads to better treatment so you can feel A Bit More Healthy.

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Tags: backache, claustrophobia, myelography, neck pain, spinal cord