Lumbar Spine MRI scan | Medserena Open MRI

Medserena Lumbar Spine MRI Scan

MRI scan of the Lumbar spine; non-invasive procedure to help diagnose medical conditions relating to the lower back, price includes:

  • Open and Upright Lumbar Spine MRI scan
  • 30 minutes appointment
  • Radiologist findings report
  • Images on USB at the end of the scan
    and available to NHS trusts via IEP on request
  • Complimentary refreshments

Please wear metal free clothing and if possible, avoid wearing any jewellery. Alternatively, Medserena can provide you with a gown to change into for your scan. Choose and book your scan now, or scroll down for more lumbar spine MRI scan variations, options and information.

Many Scans Available within 48 hours

Lumbar spine MRI scan variation and pricing

Lumbar spine

From £570.00

Lumbar spine & Cervical

From £870.00

Lumbar spine & Thoracic

From £870.00

Lumbar spine & Thoracic & Cervical

From £1,215.00

Lumbar spine & Hip

From £915.00

Lumbar spine + variPOSE

From £725.00

Lumbar spine + variPOSE & Hip

From £1,120.00

Lumbar + variPOSE & Thoracic

From £1,075.00

Lumbar spine + variPOSE & Cervical + variPOSE

From £1,315.00

Lumbar spine + variPOSE & Thoracic Cervical + variPOSE

From £1,665.00

Lumbar Spine & Sacroiliac joints

From £860.00

Superior healthcare service with every Private MRI scan

Calm, dignified

Little or no
waiting time

Largest MRI scan centres


Watch TV while

Medical report included

About Lumbar Spine MRI Scans

The lumbar spine is a complex system that can adapt to both the physiological load it is subjected to and various mechanical stresses produced by posture, daily activities, and traumatic events, all of which can accelerate its aging process.  
Lower back pain is a common debilitating problem, affecting a third of the adult population in the UK every month.

While in many cases back pain due to pulling ligaments or straining muscles, overdoing it in the garden, or similar causes, will settle within a few weeks, significant numbers of back pain sufferers develop a longer-term problem and often battle to find the cause and effective treatment. Indeed, lower back pain accounts for 11 per cent of total disability in the UK and every year 10,000 people in the UK undergo spinal surgery.
Lumbar spinal stenosis, narrowing of the spinal canal which contains the spinal cord is a significant cause of disability in the elderly, and the most common cause of spinal surgery in patients over 65 years. It is one of the most common causes of nontraumatic spinal cord injuries in people older than 50 years.

The big advantage of an open and upright Lumbar Spine MRI Scan over a conventional flatbed MRI tunnel scan is that the upright spine can be viewed in a neutral upright position. It can also be viewed from various angles such as leaning forward and stretching back with our variPOSE option of MRI scan views, to fully assess the effects of posture and gravity on the lower back.

This gives a dynamic picture of what is happening in the spine when it is subjected to normal everyday pressures such as sitting and standing, picking up problems that might have been missed or underestimated on a conventional flatbed MRI scanner.

In a seated position it may be possible to appreciate the true dimensions of disc bulges and how far they may slip forward or backwards in alignment compared to being laid flat, as well as potentially a truer picture of how far the canal width is reduced.

The seated and open nature of this scanner can also make it more comfortable for patients whose pain is brought on by laying on their back to be scanned. It can also be easier to scan patients whose spine is scoliotic (curved sideways), or kyphotic (an excessive outward curve of the spine resulting in an abnormal rounding of the upper back).

What can an open Lumbar Spine MRI Scan show?

  • Degeneration of the ligamentum flavum: This is the medical name for thickening of paired ligaments that run between vertebrae, they can cause stenosis (narrowing) of the spine.
  • Prolapsed discs: An open Lumbar MRI scan can pick up discs that prolapse (herniated or slipped) when the spine is bent or extended.
  • Spondyloarthritis (or spondyloarthropathy): This is the name for a family of inflammatory rheumatic diseases that cause arthritis. It differs from other types of arthritis, because it involves the sites are where ligaments and tendons attach to bones called entheses. Symptoms present in two main ways. The first is inflammation causing pain and stiffness, most often in the spine, but some forms can affect the hands and feet or arms and legs. The second type of symptoms cause bone destruction causing deformities of the spine and poor function of the shoulders and hips. The most common is ankylosing spondylitis, which mainly affects the spine.
  • Spinal instability: Scans which show bending and extending are the only method for showing up spinal instability that can occur after spinal fusion.

Other benefits of a Medserena Lumbar Spine MRI Scan

Open MRI scanners are a stress-free alternative to using a conventional enclosed tunnel MRI scanner, providing comfort and reassurance for people who suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia. Sitting upright is more comfortable for patients and the open front means patients can speak to a friend or relative or watch television throughout as distraction.

Open MRI scans can also accommodate larger/ heavier patients who might have difficulty fitting comfortably into a conventional tunnel scanner, as they can take weights of up to 35 stone (226kg). However, suitability will depend on the patient’s build and the area of anatomy that needs to be scanned.

Available to self-pay clients, clients with private health insurance and NHS patients where prior funding has been agreed by a clinical commissioning group.


The Upright MRI is truly open. There are no tunnels, no narrow tubes. The system is particularly quiet, the examination is comfortable and does not trigger feelings of being in a confined space. This means that the Upright MRI is particularly tolerated by patients who suffer from “claustrophobia”.

Because the system offers you an unrestricted view, you can watch TV or see DVD movies on a large screen during the scan. Wearing headphones – as with other MRI systems – is usually not necessary.

According to the current state of knowledge, there is no danger to the patient’s health as magnetic resonance imaging only uses magnetic fields and radio waves.

Metallic foreign bodies within the patient, such as fixed dental prosthesis, artificial joints or metal plates after treatment for a fracture do not usually pose any danger. However, it is important to clarify that the implants you use are MRI-compatible before the examination.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) utilises a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to form images of your body. It is non-invasive, painless and does not use any ionising radiation.

Our truly open MRI can scan you in different positions. Through the utilisation of a specially designed MRI system we can offer weight-bearing scans – sitting or standing. The design of the system allows the patient to be positioned in different postures (e.g. flexion or extension) so that the patient may be examined in the position where they experience pain. The reason to do this is that some pathologies are underestimated or even not seen in a conventional supine MRI scan. The technique has value in many applications: e.g. spine, knees, hips, ankles. This has been proven in scientific studies and documented in peer reviewed publications.

In addition, it offers the possibility of performing an MRI scan on patients who could not otherwise tolerate the examination. This may include the claustrophobic patient, who benefits from the truly open nature of the equipment, and the severely kyphotic patient or emphysema sufferer who simply cannot lie down. It can also facilitate scanning of large patients who struggle to fit conventional ‘bore’ MRI scanners.

Of course, we have a comfortable waiting area but if you want them to stay in the scan room with you, they will also need to fill out a safety questionnaire. There is enough space for a companion. The person can even hold your hand and communicate with you during the examination. This is particularly beneficial when examining teenager.

This depends above all on which part of the body needs to be examined. In the Upright MRI, special examinations can be carried out in various body positions. The entire scan generally takes between 30 and 45 minutes. However, since you have the opportunity to watch TV or DVD, this time will go by much quicker.

Eat and drink normally and, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, please continue taking medications as normal. If you have any special needs (e.g. wheelchair access) please inform us when making the appointment.

Your appointment confirmation; referral letter/form; Medical Insurance details if applicable. We accept all major debit/credit cards.

We will provide a gown/clothing for you to wear when you are scanned. If you prefer to wear your own, please ensure that you wear or bring clothing without any metal fasteners, zips or under-wiring as these cannot be worn in the scan room. The changing room can be locked for safe storage of your possessions.

You will be able to walk into the scanner. It has no tunnel or bore. You will be able to hear us and talk with us during your scan if necessary-and we will be able to see you at all times. Due to its open nature, you will even be able to watch TV or a DVD whilst having the scan. Depending on which part of you is being scanned, you may be asked to sit or stand, and assume different postures (for example bending forward.) The radiographer may place a receiver “coil” around the relevant area of your body. You will need to remain very still while the acquisition is done in order to prevent blurring of the images. You will hear some tapping from the scanner but in general it is much quieter than many other MRI scanners.

You will not feel anything while having the scan. There is no pain or unusual feeling of any type and you will experience no after effects.

YES. There are some things that can prevent you from having an MRI scan. You will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire on arrival at the Centre which will cover the contra-indications-but if you are making an appointment and any of the factors below affect you, please discuss this with us in advance as it may save you a wasted trip.

Contra-indications can include:

  • Pacemaker
  • IUDs
  • Surgical clips
  • Pregnancy
  • Metal fragments in the body
  • Metal pins/plates/screws
  • Joint replacements
  • Metal objects in eyes
  • Cochlear implants
  • IVC filters
  • Metal heart valves
  • Penile implants

It is also important to tell us if you have any tattoos or piercings.

Watches, jewellery, coins, keys, cigarette lighters, penknives, credit cards. piercings, hairgrips, wigs, nicotine patches, and hearing aids must be removed.

Your scan will be reported by a Consultant Radiologist. It will normally be available in a couple of days unless needed urgently. The images and report will be sent to your referring practitioner. If you have a follow up appointment, please make us aware of the details so we can ensure the report and images are available in time.