Northumbria Uni imaging research conducted using open MRI scanner

Newcastle Clinic is pleased to announce that our open MRI scanner has provided valuable data for a diagnostic imaging study being carried about at Northumbria University.


A research team from the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation at Northumbria University is currently undertaking analysis of diagnostic imaging scans taken at Newcastle Clinic and Northumbria University’s imaging facilities.

The study aims to compare imaging techniques: MRI, ultrasound and X-ray, to determine the validity of each type and assess which techniques are most reliable. The project focuses on the assessment of the patellar tendon cross-sectional area and patellar tendon moment arm.

open mri research

To execute the study, the researchers required an open MRI scanner to capture the most precise, accurate images. As well as offering the gold standard in imaging, the open MRI scan also allowed research participants to lie with their knees bent at a ninety-degree angle; this was a critical feature of the method  which would not be possible in a standard, enclosed MRI scanner.

For the study, Newcastle Clinic, a partner of the University, was pleased to provide free use of their open MRI scanner to the research team.

PhD student Steven Marshall, who is leading the research, said, “The open MRI scanner has allowed us to test the validity of our imaging techniques in the most replicable way, given that this wouldn’t be possible due to the space restrictions in a closed scanner. The expertise and professionalism of the radiography staff has provided us with high quality images that we can use to compare against our own imaging data. Although the analysis is in its infancy, the results are looking highly promising.”

Marshall is still analysing the data with an aim to publish the study toward the end of summer 2018.

Northumbria is recognised as one of the UK’s top ten sports universities, and their physiotherapy programme is rated third in all of the UK.

Newcastle Clinic’s partnership with Northumbria University began in 2016. The Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation has previously utilised the open scanner in research studying muscle structure.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to further support Northumbria’s Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Department. It’s exciting to hear that the early findings from this project could prove valuable in diagnostic imaging and healthcare,” said Shaun Fryer, Director of Newcastle Clinic.

Fryer added, “We’d be open to welcoming more research opportunities if other students require use of the open MRI scanner or our facilities.”

Access to the open MRI scanner

Newcastle Clinic offers discounted or free MRI scans to Northumbria University students.

Northumbria’s elite athletes can be referred for an open MRI free of charge, since many athletes, like rugby players, require an open scanner due to their large frames. An open scanner has no walls and is twice the size of a traditional MRI scanner, so large patients or those with claustrophobia are much more comfortable.

Newcastle Clinic also offers discounted MRI scans to all Northumbria University students.

Contact us on 0191 281 2636 to enquire about discounts or with any questions about our open MRI scanner, or learn more about getting a referral.

If you’re interested in working with Newcastle Clinic and utilising our facilities for research or study, please fill in our contact form and we’ll be in touch.