Upright Open MRI Research that thinks outside the bore

Upright Open MRI Research that thinks outside the bore

The Centre for Hip Health and Mobility's Upright Open MRI is wholly dedicated to research and captures unparalleled images of the human body including bones, joints, and cartilage during weight-bearing activity.

Our Upright Open MRI scanner (manufactured by Paramed Medical Systems) is housed in the Radiology Department at VGH, and is affiliated with the UBC MRI Research Centre cluster.

In contrast to other models of “open MRI” scanners, which opens horizontally, the CHHM's scanner is upright and open allowing images to be captured with the body in motion, in a range of positions, and/or bearing the weight of the body. This information is critical for a better understanding of joint function and cannot be obtained in conventional MRI scanners where the person can only be scanned lying down.

What makes the Upright Open MRI unique?

  • Stand-up, walk-in design allows people to be scanned in a variety of positions including standing, sitting, squatting, and lying down
  • Allows scans through a range of motion
  • Allows scans during weight bearing activities (for example, standing and squatting)
  • Allows scans in a position relevant to normal joint function. This is particularly important for imaging joints that have been injured or damaged by disease. For example, scans in a standing position for knee osteoarthritis could offer new insights into the underlying pathology.

What are the Hip Health and Mobility Research Applications?

At the CHHM, our focus is on research of the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, muscle, cartilage, and tendons. We primarily use the Upright Open MR images for research into joint motion & alignment, in healthy and disease states such as osteoarthritis.

What are other Health Research Applications?

The Upright Open MRI scanner can also be used to obtain novel views of:

  • Spine
  • Lungs
  • Abdomen
  • Pelvic floor
  • Blood flow (while sitting, standing, during exercise)
  • With additional applications for Sports Medicine
  • And more …


Can my healthcare professional refer me for a scan on the Upright Open MRI?

Not currently. We are doing important preliminary research that will contribute to the development of protocols to inform clinical decision making for the potential future use of the Upright Open MRI scanner.

This means that for now, the Upright Open MRI is reserved for researchers and clinicians who are working to find new ways to image the human body in order to solve some of the world's most pressing healthcare challenges. Our results will have a profound impact on Canadian healthcare practices and indeed, the practices around the world.

We gratefully acknowledge the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for providing us the funding for the purchase of this innovative piece of equipment and the opportunity to carry out leading edge work that cannot be done anywhere else.

Is it possible to book the Upright Open MRI for a research project? 

Yes! Staff at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility would be happy to address any questions you may have, discuss potential applications for the Upright Open MRI, and work with you to coordinate your project.

Please contact us at equipment@hiphealth.ca.

Who can use the Upright Open MRI?

Local, national, or international Researchers from:

  • Academic institutions
  • Industry
  • Government

The primary use of the Upright Open MRI is for health research, however researchers in other fields are welcome to submit a project proposal. Please email us for a swift response.