How weight-bearing MRIs can improve patient care: 2 experts weigh in

Weight-bearing MRIs can improve patient care and experience at no extra cost.

During a Jan. 21 webinar hosted by Becker's ASC Review and sponsored by Esaote North America, two industry leaders discussed the benefits of weight-bearing MRIs.

The presenters were: 

  • Cesar Cuevas, president and CEO of Downey, Calif.-based Stat Diagnostics
  • James Lynch, MD, a minimally invasive neurological spine surgeon and President at Spine Nevada in Reno

Four things to know about weight-bearing MRIs: 

1. Weight-bearing MRIs reproduce patient symptoms and provide pictures in real-time, according to Dr. Lynch and Mr. Cuevas. Spine Nevada uses an advanced imaging platform to access instability through spinal motion in conjunction with Esaote G-Scan Brio MRIs, Dr. Lynch said. Most spinal hardware can be scanned with little or no metal artifact, and the technology allows for full-capability viewing through PACS. The innovation thinks out of the box and can be offered in an open-MRI concept, Mr. Cuevas added. 

2. Weight-bearing MRIs combined with vertebral motion analysis can improve clinical outcomes without increasing the cost of operations. Dr. Lynch provided the example of how the InMotion weight-bearing G-Scan MRI can reveal about 30 percent more significant abnormalities on the images compared to supine imaging. Patients and physicians are able to better understand the etiology of dynamic symptoms. The technology allows practices to offer the MRI at the same cost as a regular supine procedure, Mr. Cuevas said, meaning practices can have better technology and diagnostic images for the same cost.

3. Open-concept, weight-bearing MRIs improve patient experience and satisfaction. Normally, patients are stressed for MRIs, Dr. Lynch explained, which can be mitigated with a higher level of technology and more relaxing environment. Dr. Lynch said he had a good experience with a weight-bearing MRI on his rotator cuff, instead of the typical "tube of terror" experience. Patients are relieved when they see an open machine, specifically adolescents or claustrophobic patients, according to Mr. Cueves, adding that the machines set MRI facilities apart from others. 

4. "I think this is the trend of the future: outpatient, nice accessibility and lower cost," Dr. Lynch concluded.

"Why not use these pictures in a weight-bearing position, real life everyday type situation?" Mr. Cuevas said. "Why wouldn't we use images from weight-bearing positions if they allow us to more properly diagnose patients and get them the treatment they need?" 

For more on Esaote, click here. To view the full webinar, click here

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