Stress Test MRI™
A Unique Test for Positional Symptoms
Many individuals experience symptoms only when standing or sitting and relief or decrease in the symptoms while lying down. When an individual is standing, the weight of the body compresses the intervertebral discs of the spine and can reveal disc herniations and resultant compression of neural tissues that are not present when the patient is lying supine and the disc is not compressed or stressed by the weight of the body.
The shape of intervertebral discs and many other soft tissues in the body deform when compressed by the weight of the body while individual is standing or sitting and decompress while lying down without body weight. Flexion and extension of the spine also apply a compressive stress to the intervertebral discs and apply a stress to the stabilizing ligaments. Ideally an MRI examination would be performed during weight-bearing and with flexion and extension in order to examine the body during real life conditions. A Stress Test MRI™ is a comprehensive examination of the body and displays 30-40% more findings than MRI examinations with the patient supine without weight-bearing. The best indication for obtaining a Stress Test MRI™ is when there are symptoms that are increased in severity or only occurring during weight-bearing.
Stress Test MRI™ examination was performed of a patient with myelopathic symptoms during weight-bearing that were increased in severity when looking downward (i.e. cervical flexion). The axial T2-weighted image obtained in the conventional supine position showed minimal right paracentral disc bulge with no evidence of neural compression. These supine images are similar to those obtained in conventional non-weight-bearing MRI examinations. As part of the Brio San Antonio Stress Test MRI™ axial T2-weighted images were also obtained in the weight-wearing position with the body weight added to the intervertebral discs. The Stress Test MRI™ images displayed a right paracentral disc herniation and compression of the right side of the cervical spinal cord that was not present on the non- weight-bearing images obtaining during the same examination.