Why is it so useful to be able to do standing MRI scans?
Firstly and most importantly, a large published study into anaesthetic deaths in horses concluded that there is a 1% risk of death from anaesthesia in healthy horses. This means that with other MRI systems if your horse needs an MRI examination there is a small but significant risk to his or her life.
This risk is of course multiplied if follow-up MRI scans are required.
While it is necessary to sedate the horse for a standing MRI in order to ensure no movement and good image quality, the procedure is quicker than when full anaesthesia is required resulting in safer more cost-effective scans.
A recent study at the Animal Health trust comparing results using the Hallmarq standing MRI system and a ‘high field’ anaesthetised system concluded that there was no difference in diagnostic ability. This work will be published in due course.
However, for some joints some clinicians prefer to use general anaesthesia. The Hallmarq MRI magnet can be rotated to facilitate this procedure and is especially useful for hock joints.
Hallmarq manufactures the only MRI system that allows scans of the equine foot and lower limb in a standing position without requiring general anaesthesia. This unique ability has come about as the result of years of research and development.