You’ve heard of MRI scans… but what about “active” MRI scans?
A team of radiologists at the University of California, Davis has given the traditional MRI a tech upgrade by quite literally making them more life-like and realistic.
Here’s the difference…
In a regular MRI scan, the patient must remain still, while the X-ray scans the relevant part of the body. It’s effective, but not foolproof, because the body is inactive.
But what if it was active instead? That way, the MRI would be able to capture problems with the affected part of the body as it’s actually moving in real time.
That capability is exactly what the team at UC Davis has developed…
Your Wrist Just Starred in a Movie
Led by Professor of Radiology, Robert Boutin, the doctors are trialing their “Active MRI” technique using the wrist.
Why the wrist? Because it’s one of the most complex joints in the body, made up of many tiny bones – and that complexity makes it the ideal test model to put Active MRI through its paces.
So how does it work?
Well, it’s basically like making a movie of the wrist. Rather than just taking one static image, Active MRI captures multiple images per second, as the wrist moves.
When edited together, doctors essentially have a film reel of the wrist in motion, allowing them to see problem areas more realistically.
Here’s a look at Active MRI in action…
Trashing the “One-Size-Fits-All” MRI Scan
One major advantage of this active scanning technique is that it’s uniquely personal to each patient. Clearly, not all parts of the body move in the same way for different people.
As Boutin says, “We can personalize the exam to address what’s causing symptoms to the [individual] patient, rather than doing the same thing for everyone.”
And by doing so, he says it will give surgeons a much clearer picture of the problem – and how to fix it – before surgery is performed.
As orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Robert Szabo, says, “As we get pieces of that information together, we can understand why one person develops an unstable wrist, why one person has pain and wears out the joint surface, and what we can do to replace it, make better products, or even make soft tissue corrections to improve that patient’s life.”
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But wrist imaging is just the start…
From the Wrist to… Everywhere
Boutin says the new technique has applications beyond just the wrist, and could help doctors better understand how the entire human body moves: “I think it could – and should – be applied to every other joint in the body. And not only other joints, but also muscles and tendons. We’re built to move and I think MR imaging should reflect that.”
Szabo goes a step further. He says that aside from being used to improve surgical procedures, it could benefit amputees: “I believe this will lead to the development of making better prosthetics for patients.”
This innovation seems like a no-brainer to me in terms of complementing existing imaging technology. Just another example of the major role that technology is playing in advancing healthcare and improving our lives.
Ahead of the tape,