In the health and fitness industry, body composition is a term that describes the percentage of fat, bone, and muscle in your body. Measurements are taken to find out what percentage of your body weight is fat, which can indicate how healthy you are.
Finding your individual body composition profile is important because your fat to muscle ratio can be different from someone who is the same height, weight, and age as you. Your scale can only tell you your weight, not how much fat and muscle mass you have. Similarly, body mass index (BMI) only tells you the ratio of your weight to your height; it doesn’t measure body fat.
At Mayfair Diagnostics, we will begin offering new private pay body composition profile (BCP) services using our MRI technology and an artificial intelligence and bioinformatics platform from AMRA®. This service will be available mid-February.
BCP provides an individualized description of a person’s body composition based on a rapid MRI scan. This allows for a greater understanding of your body and the ability to personalize clinical care. It provides a greater depth of information than BMI, allowing a detailed look at your tissue.
The BCP MRI scan measure the amount fat and muscle in major body and organ areas. It looks at the following:
A healthy body composition profile shows less fat and more muscle mass. An increase in visceral fat can lead to increased health risks, specifically for diabetes and heart disease.
Below is an example of BCP MRI images.
*Image courtesy of AMRA®.
As part of this exam, Mayfair Diagnostics will perform a neck-to-knee MRI scan at our Mayfair Place location. You will also be asked to wear comfortable clothes free of metal zippers or buttons, including metal-free underwear. It generally takes between 30-60 minutes to complete this exam.
Once in the exam room you may be asked to change into a gown or scrubs. Your technologist will position you on the cushioned scanner table in the MRI suite. We will do our best to make you comfortable.
An MRI can be loud, so you will be provided with headphones or ear plugs to reduce the noise. Eye masks are also available upon request for patients who have difficulty relaxing in a confined space. You will be given an emergency call bell to stop the exam, if needed. Once you are relaxed and comfortable, a sensor will be positioned around your torso. The table will then move slowly into the MRI scanner, which is well lit and ventilated.
You will be asked to hold very still, as movement may result in blurring of images. Your technologist will be close by at all times. You may be asked to hold your breath for some of the images. Breath holds can last between 5-25 seconds. Once we have successfully captured your images, you are free to leave.
MRI does not use ionizing radiation. Images are created using a magnetic field which can attract metal objects or may cause metal in your body to move. This means that before an MRI can be performed all patients will need to be screened to exclude internal metal objects or hardware that are not safe in the MRI.
The inside of the MRI scanner can feel small to some people and there are noises caused by changes in the magnetic field, which require ear protection.
BCP MRI services are offered as private pay services only. They are not covered by the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan.
Your health spending account or group medical insurance plan may cover the cost of a private MRI that is prescribed by a qualified health care practitioner. You will need to check with your plan administrator for coverage details.
A BCP MRI must be requested by a health care practitioner. If, after discussion with your doctor, a private BCP MRI is indicated as a best next course of action, your doctor will provide you with a requisition and preparation instructions for your exam. You will then be able to book the appointment.
Once your images have been gathered, they will be sent to AMRA® for analysis. Once data processing with AMRA® is complete, it is verified by a Mayfair radiologist who will also review all acquired imaging and generate a report that will be sent to your referring doctor within five business days.
This report will provide patient-specific body composition profile measurements and comparisons to reference data ranges, giving context to the results. Each measurement is visualized in a bar plot, where each patient’s information is presented in relation to the distribution within a body-size and sex-specific reference population.
Your doctor will review your images and the report from the radiologist and discuss any next steps with you.
Mayfair Diagnostics offers MRI imaging as a private pay service at our Mayfair Place location in Calgary. For more information, please visit our services page or call our toll-free number 1-866-611-2665
Linge, J., et al. (2021) “Adverse muscle composition predicts all-cause mortality in the UK Biobank imaging study.” Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia, and Muscle, 12(6);1513-1526, 2021.
Linge, J., et al. (2018) “Body Composition Profiling in the UK Biobank Imaging Study.” Obesity, 2018 Nov; 26(11): 1785-1795.