MRI Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. If you have additional MRI questions, please contact us.

  • Why should I choose the SUMA MRI over a conventional MRI?

    The right MRI is the one which shows the cause of your pain/problem. Conventional MRIs image patients in the lying down position without the normal stress of gravity. Without gravity, the true cause may not be visible. SUMA scans the patient in a weight-bearing (sitting or standing) position, which reveals abnormalities missed by conventional “lay down” MRI units. The SUMA weight-bearing, multi-positional MRI more accurately evaluates human anatomy and finds the cause of your pain/problem.

    The SUMA MRI evaluates patients in positions unattainable by conventional MRI units. SUMA’s flexion, extension, lateral bending, and rotational studies, when compared to the neutral position, often expose hidden conditions that lead to a more accurate diagnosis showing the cause.

    Top Radiologists:
    SUMA radiologists are the best in their field and have the unique technology to render reports that actually contain embedded key images of the pathology.

    For all these reasons, SUMA MRI is a center of excellence that delivers diagnostic imaging that is far superior to conventional MRI.

  • I know that the American Medical Association (A.M.A.) has created guidelines to rate permanent disability. How can SUMA MRI provide accurate permanent disability ratings that meet these guidelines?

    Personal disability is potentially devastating for the patient and comes with significant economic consequences for all parties involved.

    As opposed to physical examination, MRI evaluation can be used to generate impairment ratings that not only meet A.M.A. guidelines but also produce results that are more accurate and consistent than physical examination. Although MRI is the ideal modality to evaluate bones, joints, and soft tissue injury, conventional scanners do not permit us to image the patient in pain positions necessary to assess functional status.

    SUMA MRI weight-bearing, positional scans are the most reliable method to assess musculoskeletal functionality and arrive at permanent disability ratings that are aligned with the A.M.A. guidelines – providing the most accurate assessment of the patient’s actual functional status.

  • If a patient has already been scanned at a conventional MRI center why would they get scanned again at SUMA MRI?

    There are several reasons why patients come to SUMA MRI for a “second opinion.” The inherent limitations of “lay down” MRI does not provide adequate insight into a patient’s symptoms. This can be very frustrating for both the patient and the referring physician. These patients then come to SUMA MRI with the hope that our technologically superior imaging can provide more information about their problem. SUMA does just that!

    SUMA’s weight-bearing, positional scanning detects the true nature of each patient’s complaints to understand the often hidden condition with precision. This is accomplished by imaging the patient in their weight-bearing position of pain or symptoms. The SUMA MRI scanner is not only roomy enough to curtail claustrophobic reactions but also allows the patient to be scanned in positions that cause their symptoms.

    Although a conventional MRI may uncover a problem, it does not elucidate enough vital information to draw definitive conclusions. Once again, this is another area where SUMA MRI can yield powerful results.

    Our radiologists not only analyze these images to identify hidden abnormalities but can correlate these findings to patient complaints. That’s the difference between just knowing that a general problem exists and defining the exact problem, understanding the clinical significance, and determining whether these findings are actually relevant to the specific symptoms being evaluated. All these factors result in a more accurate diagnosis and better patient management by referring physicians.

  • What makes SUMA reports so unique?

    SUMA reports are written by leading radiologists in this field with images of the pathology embedded into the reports. This yields superior reports that identify the pathology which are easily understood by physicians, insurance companies, attorneys and patients.

  • Is there guaranteed image quality?

    SUMA is American College of Radiology (ACR) accredited. This is the “gold standard” in medical imaging with less than 20% of the MRI scanners in the Midwest attaining this level of accreditation.

    SUMA MRI utilizes state-of-the-art imaging technology which consumes extensive resources and time. That is why only a handful of centers have this technology to date. As the technology becomes more available, SUMA MRI will launch additional centers throughout the Midwest.

  • SUMA MRI currently has only one location. Is it worth the trip to SUMA MRI?

    If your condition is serious enough to warrant an MRI, it’s serious enough to get the right MRI. Although traveling to the SUMA MRI center may take extra effort, the benefits of being evaluated with superior diagnostic technology yielding superior reports greatly outweigh any inconvenience. Our patients value the optimal care that SUMA provides. To them, the fact that SUMA MRI represents the very best in medical imaging is all the motivation they need to get their MRI at SUMA.

    For some patients, SUMA MRI is the only alternative for one or more of the following reasons:

    1. They are extremely claustrophobic and cannot tolerate even pseudo-open MRIs.
    2. They are too large to fit in a conventional MRI scanner.
    3. They have been evaluated by a conventional MRI, that did not yield any answers.

    To these patients, SUMA MRI is a haven to which they are willing to travel from vast distances. Our truly open MRI affords the patient an open view out of the scanner virtually eliminating claustrophobic reactions. The scanner’s ultra-openness also accommodates over-sized patients who weigh up to 500 lbs. Finally, the SUMA MRI commitment to providing superior, open, weight-bearing, positional MRI scans means that each patient receives the most comprehensive MRI evaluation possible. In fact, our reputation for delivering accurate, objective diagnostic reports has made SUMA MRI a favorite amongst physicians who need a “second opinion” scan.

  • What is the SUMA MRI patient experience like?

    On the day of the exam, patients may take all their regular medications and follow their normal dietary regimen. It is important, however, that our patients do not wear any metal during their scan as it can adversely affect the MRI image quality. Therefore, we recommend wearing “sweats” because they have little to no metal elements.

    Patients should arrive early for their MRI appointment to complete their registration. Patients are then escorted to the scanner room. As electronic and magnetic items are vulnerable to damage by the MRI machine, we caution patients to make sure all watches, credit cards, cell phones, and hearing aids are removed and safely stowed in a patient locker before entering the scanner room.

    An MRI technologist positions the patient in the scanner and ensures maximum comfort, while at the same time being in the position they feel pain to show its cause. Once the scan has commenced, our patients generally close their eyes and relax or watch the 42″ television monitor in front of them.

    Although the patient may be placed in the position of pain to allow SUMA to capture the anatomy in the position that reproduces symptoms, the scan itself does not cause any pain or discomfort. Most scans are completed in 15 to 35 minutes. We trust you will find the SUMA upright MRI experience is far superior to conventional MRI scanners in comfort and quality.