Thoracic Spine MRI scan | Medserena Open MRI

Medserena Thoracic Spine MRI scans

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

  • Open and Upright 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. Scroll down for more thoracic spine MRI scan information, variations and options.

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Thoracic spine MRI scan variation and pricing

Thoracic spine

From £570.00

Thoracic spine & Cervical

From £870.00

Thoracic spine & Lumbar

From £870.00

Thoracic spine & Cervical & Lumbar

From £1,215.00

Thoracic spine & Cervical + variPOSE

From £1,075.00

Thoracic spine & Lumbar + variPOSE

From £1,075.00

Thoracic spine & Cervical + variPOSE & Lumbar + variPOSE

From £1,665.00

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 Thoracic Spine MRI scans

This part of the spine is the only section attached to the ribs, which makes it strong and stabilising, with less range-of-motion than the cervical (neck) levels. The thoracic spine is less prone to injury; however, it is the most common location for vertebral fracture due to osteoporosis.

A thoracic spine MRI scan may provide a diagnosis for the cause of discomfort.

The big advantage of an open thoracic spinal MRI Scan over a conventional flatbed MRI tunnel scan is that the upright spine can be viewed in a neutral upright position. The spine can be seen when weight-bearing when sitting under the natural load of gravity. The intervertebral discs are exposed to a pressure that is five times higher when sitting than when lying down.

This gives a dynamic picture of what is happening in the spine when it is subjected to normal everyday pressures 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 assess 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 more accurate picture of how far the canal width is reduced.

The seated and open design of the scanner is more comfortable for patients whose pain is brought on by lying 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 conditions can a thoracic spine MRI scan detect?

Common conditions that may be diagnosed with this type of MRI scan include:

  • 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.
  • Muscular problems: Pain in the mid back is commonly caused by muscle irritation or tension. Poor posture from computer work or any type of irritation of the large back and shoulder muscles can cause these pains.
  • Spondyloarthritis (or spondyloarthropathy): This is a type of inflammatory arthritis where ligaments and tendons attach to bones called entheses. Symptoms include inflammation causing pain and stiffness, most often in the spine, and bone destruction causing deformities of the spine and deterioration in hip function. The most common type of inflammatory arthritis is ankylosing spondylitis, which mainly affects the spine.
  • Cancer tumours: These may be mets (metastatic cancer) that have spread from elsewhere) or cancer that originated in the spine. The cancerous tumours may cause spinal cord compression, causing pain and changes in nerve sensation. Up to 5 per cent of people with cancer develop spinal cord compression.
  • Fractures: Vertebral fractures such as those caused by the fragile bone condition osteoporosis or accidents or falls are visible on a thoracic spinal MRI scan.

Other benefits of a Medserena thoracic 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.

To book a Medserena thoracic spine MRI scan direct in London or Manchester, go to


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.