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MRI Machines Go Plus-Size To Fit Overweight Americans

MRI Machines Growing With Americans

As Americans continue to gain weight, makers of MRI machines and other medical scanners are rushing to accommodate their larger sizes by literally super-sizing their equipment.

But for some Americans, the companies aren’t working fast enough to keep up with demand, reports The Wall Street Journal. Fifty-seven-year-old David Washington injured his back last year and needs surgery in order to go back to work.

Bur surgeons won’t operate on him until he gets a MRI to evaluate his injury. The problem? Washington weighs 630 pounds and has yet to find a machine big enough to fit him.

Washington stated that, “I’ve been looking for an MRI for a year.” He has even contacted Siemens and General Electric, only to have them say that their machines are not large enough for him.

While the struggle to control America’s obesity continues, equipment manufacturers see the problem, which affects 28 percent of the population, as an opportunity to rake in more money, notes Newser.

In just the past 15 years, CT scanners have grown from a diameter of two feet to about two and-a-half feet. Bernd Montag, chief executive of Siemens AG’s imaging division, which makes computed tomography, or CT, scanners to support patients well over 600 pounds, stated that:

“The US is the biggest market for us, so every product we build has the obese American patient in mind. It more or less has turned into a design requirement.”

Companies are currently experimenting with various designs including having the patients stand up instead of laying on tables,or even body-specific scanners. But radiologists have said that even those configurations have limitations including patient girth.

While scanners now on the market can fit all but the largest patients, X-rays and other imaging signals are still struggling to penetrate layers of fat. Because of this, they struggle to produce diagnostically useful images at normal doses. Instead, it takes much more radiation to image obese patients effectively, bringing new health risks to those patients.

Raul Uppot, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, has spent time researching and helping hospitals and manufacturers recognize the need for larger equipment. Dr. Uppot stated:

“The best solution to this problem is to make sure no one gets obese. But, as Americans, we constantly find a problem and instead of going to the best solution, we just build a bigger machine.”

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Comments

4 Responses to “MRI Machines Go Plus-Size To Fit Overweight Americans”

  1. Darliene Howell

    “The best solution to this problem is to make sure no one gets obese" is a ridiculous statement. There is no proven method to permanently prevent or reduce obesity. Stereotyping all fat people as lazy, gluttons, fraught with disease that they have brought on themselves is discriminatory and stigmatizing. You cannot tell by a person’s body size what their fitness levels are, how hard they work, how intelligent they are, or how disciplined they are. To do so, is overly simplistic.

    Stigma and discrimination of people based on their physical appearance or body size is resulting in physiological reactions to this stress. The pressure to reduce their body size in not only extremely difficult, if not impossible, it is BAD FOR THEIR HEALTH.

    Not providing adequate diagnostic equipment for larger bodies inhibits healthcare providers from doing their job and restricts treatment to thousands of people. I appreciate that companies such as these are looking at how they can solve a problem without body bias.

  2. Linda Isabella Mayoh

    I once needed a MRI and the doctor told me that it was a good thing that it was only my ankle that was going in the machine. He went on to say that if I ever went to the ER, they medical staff could not help me. I told him, "I know if you were one of the medical staff and judging me by my physical appearance, I know for a fact that you would choose to do nothing' I requested to see another doctor. I was so sick of being blamed for my size and I started to stand up for my rights as a human being. I had a bad phobia of going to Doctors or other medical help, ie dietician, x-rays to begin with. I took a stand for myself in the 1990's and its has been easier. I still get anxious when I have to see a specialist or a test that I never had before.

  3. Linda Isabella Mayoh

    I once needed a MRI and the doctor told me that it was a good thing that it was only my ankle that was going in the machine. He went on to say that if I ever went to the ER, they medical staff could not help me. I told him, "I know if you were one of the medical staff and judging me by my physical appearance, I know for a fact that you would choose to do nothing' I requested to see another doctor. I was so sick of being blamed for my size and I started to stand up for my rights as a human being. I had a bad phobia of going to Doctors or other medical help, ie dietician, x-rays to begin with. I took a stand for myself in the 1990's and its has been easier. I still get anxious when I have to see a specialist or a test that I never had before.

  4. Linda Jenkins

    Warmest Hugs to you Linda Isabella Mayoh~!!!~ You not only stood up for yourself, you stood for those who would encounter that doctor after you. The wonderful thing about organizations like NAAFA, and my sisters, Peggs and Dar, is that they see the true person and not just the exterior package. We're all beautiful…not based on our dress or waist size, but because of who we are…our characters, hearts, and our big beautiful selves. We're not clones and weren't meant to be (thank God), and I love each and every one us because of those differences…no matter our size. Keep standing up and speaking out, Honeygirl, we got your back!