||Marshall, Mabel E.;
A device for positioning a patient for medical imaging comprising an inclined surface comprising a radiotranslucent low end segment and a high end segment. The inclined surface comprises a concave-shaped recess for supporting the patient's torso at the low end segment and legs at the high end. The low end and high end of the inclined surface form an obtuse angle with respect to each other. The device also comprises at least one inclined surface support that may be attached to the inclined surface at the low end or, alternatively, to the high end. The support supports the inclined surface such that the high end has a height greater than the low end.
Medical imaging techniques, such as x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and the like are performed to analyze the internal structures of various parts of the body. Images of the head are used to diagnose traumatic injuries, such as blood clots or skull fractures, tumors, and infections. Images of the spine, which reveal the bony structure of the vertebrae as well as the intervertebral discs and spinal cord, are used to assist in the diagnosis of a wide range of injuries and diseases, such as fractures, fusion of joints, arthritis, localization of a foreign body, determination of chronic pain, osteoporosis and the like.
Body positioning is important in obtaining specific planar views in imaging the head and spine. Correct positioning of the spine provides an overall impression of the spine and may show tumors and other pathological processes. Imaging is used to demonstrate the range of movement of the spine, the intervertebral foramen, facet joints, and disc sizes and shape. Imaging of the whole of the spine is used in the detection and measurement of scoliosis. The head and spine may be imaged in any plane to provide detailed information of soft tissue and bone detail, effective in the diagnosis of disc herniation, facet joint disease, osteoarthritis, disc bulges, and nerve root entrapment.
Imaging of certain spinal defects, such as curvatures of the spine, is difficult due to the patient aperture space available in many imaging devices. An example of this problem is seen in the kyphotic patient. Kyphosis is forward curvature of the spine caused by a deformity affecting the vertebrae. Destruction of the vertebral bodies as a result of diseases such as osteoporosis produces collapse of vertebral bodies and the characteristic appearance known as Dowager's hump. A patient presenting with severe kyphosis is unable straighten his neck to a normal position when lying on his back. To obtain proper images of the spine or head, the body of a patient with a spinal defect, such as kyphosis, must be elevated. Currently, pillows or cushions are used so that the head may be positioned inside the patient aperture of a medical imager.
Medical imaging of the head or spine currently requires that a patient remain motionless in a specific position during the imaging for up to an hour. Maintaining a given position without moving for that length of time proves difficult for many patients. The pillows used to prop the patient may slip, produce inconsistent results, or cause discomfort to the patient. Accordingly, a need exists for improved medical imaging positioning devices and methods.
A device for positioning a patient for medical imaging comprising an inclined surface comprising a radiotranslucent low end segment and a high end segment. The inclined surface further comprises a concave-shaped recess for receiving the patient's torso at the low end segment and legs at the high end. The low end and high end of the inclined surface form an obtuse angle with respect to each other. The device further comprises at least one inclined surface support that may be attached to the inclined surface at the low end or alternatively, to the high end. The support supports the inclined surface such that the high end has a height greater than the low end.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective side view showing an embodiment of the invention with optional restraints.
FIG. 1A is an alternate embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a side view of a patient with kyphosis positioned on an embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a perspective side view showing another embodiment of the invention with an alternative placement of a restraint.
FIG. 3A shows an additional embodiment with an alternative restraint.
FIG. 4 is a perspective side view showing an additional embodiment of the invention.
A body positioner used in medical imaging of the head and/or spine is disclosed. As shown in the Figures, the device comprises an inclined surface 10 and at least one inclined surface support 11. The device comprises any material, such as plastic, a textile, and the like or a combination of materials. The device is of sufficient thickness to provide support, yet sufficiently thin to remain relatively lightweight. The entire device or the inclined surface 10 portion may be covered and/or padded. The covering and padding may comprise the entire device or inclined surface or portions of each, and may be removable.
The inclined surface 10 extends from a low end segment 12 to a high end segment 13. The high end 13 has a height greater than that of the low end 12. The low end 12 and the high end 13 are angulated with respect to each other in an obtuse angle relationship. In an embodiment, the low end segment 12 intersects with the high end segment 13 at an angle of about 135.degree.. The inclined surface may comprise additional segments, and may alternately comprise a curvilinear shape.
The width and height of at least a portion of the low end segment 12 is made from a radiotranslucent material and made to fit within the inner diameter of a patient aperture of a medical imager, such as, but not limited to, CT, MRI, x-ray, fluoroscopy and ultrasound devices. The length of the inclined surface 10 accommodates pediatric to adult patients.
As shown in the Figures, the inclined surface 10 further comprises a generally concave-shaped recess 14 extending generally the length of the inclined surface 10. The recess 14 is shaped to support a portion of the body of a patient in a supine position. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the device supports at least a part of the torso and the legs of a patient. The recess 14 may be uniform, or may be shaped to follow the contour of a human shape. The recess 14 at the low end 12 may comprise inclines and depressions or other similar features shaped to accommodate the patient's back at the point of contact. The recess 14 at the high end 13 may comprise a single depression shaped to accommodate both legs together or individual depressions that accommodate each leg individually.
The inclined surface support 11 may be attached to the inclined surface 10 at an edge of the low end 12 or, alternatively, at an edge of the high end 13. FIG. 3 shows an inclined surface support 11 intersecting with the low end 12. In this embodiment, the support 11 extends in a generally horizontal plane from the low end 12. In an alternative of this embodiment, the support 11 extends to a point sufficient for the support 11 to firmly support the inclined surface 10 without motion. The area defined between the inclined surface 10 and the support 11 may comprise one or more brace 30 or may be a solid. This embodiment is fabricated from a relatively rigid plastic. The device may further comprise a pad and/or a covering, which may be attached or removable.
As shown in FIG. 1, the inclined surface support 11 may alternatively extend the length of the inclined surface 10 to form a solid shape. In this embodiment, the device further comprises sidewalls 18, 18a and an end 19. In a variation of this embodiment, the device comprises a hollow shape, such as illustrated in FIG. 1A. Either shape may comprise a foam rubber; however, anything, such as plastic, textile, air, or the like may be used. The shape may further comprise padding and/or a covering, which may be attached or removable.
FIG. 4 illustrates an additional embodiment with the inclined surface support 11 extending from an edge of the high end 13. In this embodiment, the support 11 extends vertically from the high end 13 to a plane essentially equal to that of an edge of the low end 12. This embodiment is fabricated from a relatively rigid plastic. The device may further comprise a pad and/or a covering, which may be attached or removable.
As shown in FIG. 1, the device may include at least one restraint 17, 17n to assist in holding a patient against the inclined surface 10. The restraint 17, 17n may be any mechanism to hold a portion of the patient's body, such as the torso and/or legs. Examples of restraints include mechanisms that a patient slips through, such as an attached piece with elastic banding, and mechanisms that secure the patient after the patient is placed on the inclined surface 10, such ties, stretchable or non stretchable components that join, and the like. More than one restraint may be used in combination.
In an embodiment, the restraint 17 comprises a hook and loop fastener of sufficient length to interlock snugly over a portion of the patient's body, such as the torso and/or legs, and of sufficient width to hold the patient firmly against the inclined surface 10. In an embodiment, the device comprises a first hook and loop fastener that holds the patient's torso and a second hook and loop fastener that holds the patient's legs.
The restraint 17, 17n may be attached to any surface or, alternatively, to a cover. As shown in FIG. 1, the restraint 17, 17n may be attached to opposing sidewalls. The restraint 17, 17n may be attached to the inclined surface 10 as shown in FIG. 3, or attached to a bottom of the inclined surface 10 as shown in FIG. 3A. The restraint 17, 17n may also extend through the hollow portion of the shape, as illustrated in FIG. 1A. Those skilled in the art will appreciate other numbers, combinations and placement of restraints given the present disclosure.
The device may further comprise one or more strap 16 to assist in moving the shape. The strap 16 may be located on any surface and may alternately be located on a cover.
The device allows manipulation of the head and/or spine for medical imaging. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the device allows a patient with a spinal deformity, such as kyphosis, to be positioned within the patient aperture of an imaging device for imaging the head and/or spine. The device also allows for proper body positioning to image the head and/or spine of patients with other spinal deformities. Alternatively, the device may be used for patients without spinal deformities. An example of alternative uses would be to obtain images of the vertebrae where the thoracic vertebrae are in a straightened configuration, rather than in their normal curved array.
While the invention is described in some detail with specific reference to certain embodiments and alternatives, there is no intent to limit the invention disclosed to a particular embodiment or specific alternatives. Therefore, the true scope of the invention is defined not by the foregoing description but by the following claims.