Upright MRI

Does anyone have experience with an Upright MRI?

I had PLIF (L3, L4, L5) in June of 2019. I'm having tremendous lower back pain, but only when I'm on my feet - no pain sitting, no pain lying down. My most recent MRI (done lying down, of course) shows that my L5 - S1 disc is in direct contact with the L5 nerve root, but the surgeon says it is NOT compressing the nerve. I think if i could get imaging standing, it would show compression. By the way, I am still numb from just above my right knee down through my toes, and in my left foot, toes and instep = no change since the fsuion.

So... does anyone know of a way to get images "weight bearing" or has anyone had success with an Upright MRI? Thank you. 



  • Personally I’d get a second opinion on your current MRI from a different neurosurgeon before thinking about getting an upright MRI. That’s just me.

  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 299

    Years ago I had an "open" MRI and it was done while I was seated. Sorry, but I don't have any experience with a standing MRI. Good luck! Jerome

  • advertisement
  • @Jerome001 an upright MRI is a seated MRI. Were your results any different with a recumbent (laying on your back) MRI versus an upright MRI? Just curious.

  • Thanks for the responses.

    Jerome, I am also curious if the seated MRI produced different results as that's what I would hope for.

    L4_L5, I could get another opinion, but how do surgeons feel about the fact that I have already had a fusion done by someone else? It seems to me that I've read that some doctors won't touch you once you've been worked on elsewhere. Also, why wouldn't you get another MRI? - unless, of course, my insurance won't pay for it. 

  • @Chelie sometimes a second pair of eyes looking at your MRI is helpful. Insurance is very fussy about paying for upright MRI’s. I found one as cheap as $499 (cash price) but it unfortunately went out of business. Good luck and please keep us posted.

  • advertisement
  • You can sit or stand in open standing MRI it is, good to use for weight  bearing  exam  you can google  to find in usa i believe  Texas, Has it is, good  also for claustrophic  people since open at top

  • Chelie, look up  myelogram in the top right search on this page. It's not pleasant but often shows things an MRI or CT won't show. It showed my nerve compression when an MRI didn't. Your doctor would have to agree to order it of course or you could find a different surgeon who would. I'm not familiar with upright MRI'S.


  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 299

    As I recall, there was no significant difference between the two MRI types. It has been a while but to the best of my recollection.

  • @Jerome001 thanks for your input and experience. It’s my understanding that upright MRI is sometimes more conclusive for noticing post-op anomalies, not seen or not seen to the extent as they truly exist via recumbent MRI. For someone who’s never had back surgery I’m not sure if there’s a significant importance to undergo an upright MRI versus a standard MRI on your back.

  • As Joanne suggested, I looked up myelogram. It does sound like it might be appropriate: "Myelography is particularly useful in showing even subtle cases of nerve root compression. Myelogram is commonly used to evaluate chronic neck
    and/or back pain after surgery has been unsuccessful." So, I will add that to my list of things to ask the doctor.

    I went so far as to get in touch with a major manufacturer of Upright MRI's, and asked for the closest location that has one. The facility is "in network" for me, but I just had an MRI. I'm not sure that insurance would pay for another one even if I can convince the doctor to prescribe it. 

    I'll let you all know if anything comes of this. So far, the surgeon is saying, "We'll see you in July." Aggravating!

  • I have had several myelograms, it's not a fun test by any means, but they have picked up things that mri's have missed.


Sign In or Join Us to comment.