Video still courtesy of KyphoLift

KyphoLift aims to simplify MR exams of patients with spinal injuries

December 21, 2023
by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief
Getting patients with spinal injuries in the necessary position for MR exams can be challenging, but a new device could make it less burdensome on patients and providers alike.

The conventional method of positioning kyphotic patients, those with a curved spine, in MR involves several clinicians lifting the patient from each side, raising the lumbar/pelvic region with sponges and pillows stuffed underneath, keeping the hips and head at required angles. This approach has numerous shortcomings, including the physical strain of lifting the patient, the discomfort of the resulting position, and the potential for pillows to shift and compromise scans.

KyphoLift provides a solid surface operated by a single technologist, eliminating the need for manual lifting. To use, a technologist places the device on the table, securely straps the patients in and then uses the attached pump to set the patient at the correct angle. In addition to decreasing patient anxiety, KyphoLift can be set to replicate studies at specific angles.

The solution was created by Brandon Johnson, a former MR technologist at the University of Utah Health System who saw the need for it firsthand, and spent graveyard shifts developing the idea.

"I knew there must be an easier way that doesn’t put the technologist and the patient at risk for getting hurt," he told HCB News. "MR needed a device that would adapt the equipment to the patient’s needs and eliminate the manual lifting and be compatible with CPR protocols."
Image courtesy of KyphoLift

When Johnson describes KyphoLift to MR technologists, he says they immediately understand what it is, as if they had been waiting for someone to create a solution to the problem. He believes the system could yield downstream benefits, too.

"With staffing shortages becoming more common I aim to alleviate employee burnout and staff injury," he said. "Using KyphoLift standardizes patient prep time, keeps schedules predictable, improves quality and patient throughput, all without adding overtime hours or searching to hire more technologists."

The solution was designed to retrofit various MR scanners, and Johnson thinks it could prove useful for other imaging modalities with similar applications.

KyphoLift is a 510(k) exempt Class 1 medical device, and is currently on the market.