What is an MRI?

MRI is short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This advanced technology lets your health care provider see internal organs, blood vessels, muscles, joints, tumors, areas of infection, and more – with incredible clarity without the use of x-rays, surgery, or pain.

How does an upright MRI scanner work?

The MRI scanner creates a magnetic field, sending radio waves through your body, and then measuring the response with a computer. An image of the inside of your body is created and is much clearer than what can be obtained with most other methods.

Why should I choose to have an upright MRI?

Scans are performed in different positions to detect instability. Back and joint pain are often worse when sitting or standing and improved by lying down. In our upright MRI, patients will be scanned lying down and sitting or standing. This is equivalent to performing two separate MRI scans which improves the chances of finding the cause of pain.

Who should have an upright MRI?

Our upright MRI scanner offers individuals an unprecedented level of comfort. The open design minimizes or eliminates claustrophobia. The quiet atmosphere reduces fear and promotes relaxation. The ability to watch television or listen to music provides a pleasant distraction during your medical investigation. People with a spinal deformity or other medical problems that impair their ability to lie down can be scanned while sitting or standing.

How long does an upright MRI scan take?

The length of time the scan takes depends on the part of the body and reason for your scan. A basic scan typically takes 30 to 45 minutes. Scans in additional positions will increase the length of time needed to perform the exam.

How much does an upright MRI scan cost?

Generally, an upright MRI at the Welcome Back Pain Management & Upright MRI Centre will cost $995 per body part. This cost will be individualized depending on the site of the body and reason for the scan. The price is determined by the number of positions, length of time, and use of contrast agents. An estimate can be provided in advance.

Can the upright MRI be used to screen for medical conditions?

Yes. The upright MRI can do much more than simply identify a source of pain. Our upright MRI is also used to screen for medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, dementia, or any condition where a structural abnormality can be identified by an MRI.

How much radiation exposure is there in an MRI scan?

None. Unlike CT scans, which use x-rays to obtain images, MRI scanners use a magnetic field and radiowave pulses to generate images without any radiation exposure.

How should I get ready for the exam?

In many cases, you can stick with your normal routine as no special preparation is needed. Eat and drink your usual diet, work, or play sports and take any prescription medications. There may be some situations where our Centre will give you specific instructions to follow before the exam. These will be clearly outlined for you if required.

What can I expect to happen during my upright MRI scan?

The technologist will greet you and explain the process. You will be asked to remove any metal objects including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, etc… A coil will be placed over your body part being scanned and you will be placed in the upright MRI scanner in a comfortable position. You may choose to watch television or listen to music during your scan.

Our technologist will be in an adjacent room where he or she will observe and communicate with you throughout your exam. You will not feel any discomfort during the procedure. You may be placed in different positions during the scan. Movement during the scan may affect the image quality so it is important that you remain comfortable and relaxed at all times.

May I bring someone to the exam with me?

Yes, absolutely. The person accompanying you will be required to stay in our waiting room while the scan is being done. We have coffee, refreshments and reading materials for their comfort while they wait.

Will I feel any different after the exam?

You will feel perfectly normal and can go back to your activities, work, etc.

When and from whom will I get my results?

Your referring physician will receive a faxed report generally within 24 to 48 hours of your exam. We suggest that you make an appointment with your referring physician to go over your results.

Is there an issue if I am breast-feeding or pregnant?

Because we do not know the effects to a fetus, we do not scan women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Women who are breast-feeding, and require contrast, will need to express their milk for 48 hours to ensure that the contrast is not passed on to their baby.

Will extended medical benefits cover MRI scans?

Costs of an upright MRI scan at our Centre are not usually covered by the Medical Services Plan of British Columbia and currently most extended health plans do not cover these costs either. Check your plan for details as some employers, disability insurers (WCB, ICBC) and third party payers may cover the costs.

Is there a payment plan where I can pay for my services over time?

Generally, payment is made at the time of the exam, though we do work with a 3rd party supplier who provides a payment plan for a nominal charge. Information can be obtained from our Centre staff.

What are your hours of operation?

We are open 8a – 4pm (Pacific Standard Time) Monday to Friday.

Have a question you didn’t see answered here? Email us at mri@welcomebackcentre.com