Kim Kardashian shared her experience undergoing a Prenuvo MRI scan.
The treatment is popular among celebrities, who tout its supposed ability to detect disease early.
But experts say it can result in unneeded diagnostic testing that can do more harm than good.
Reality star Kim Kardashian said she underwent a full-body MRI scan with a new company that claims it can help save lives by providing early detection of a variety of diseases.
The startup that Kardashian used to get her scan, known as Prenuvo, claims it can detect 500 abnormalities and diseases. The company is becoming a favorite among celebrities able to fork over $2,500 for a whole-body scan.
In a Tuesday post on Instagram, Kardashian shared a photo of herself posing with a Prenuvo MRI machine in scrubs and called the technology “life saving.” She also wrote that the scans had “really saved some of my friends lives.”
“The Prenuvo full-body scan has the ability to detect cancer and diseases such as aneurysms in its earliest stages, before symptoms arise,” Kardashian wrote in her caption. “It was like getting a MRI for an hour with no radiation.”
Kardashian isn’t the first person in her family to promote the practice of MRI scans as a preventative health solution. In an episode of “The Kardashians” that aired in July, matriarch Kris Jenner also underwent a screening at Prenuvo — where she was given the all-clear on her health.
In fact, as Insider’s Palmer Haasch reported, the body scan is just one of the many times the billionaire family has promoted expensive healthcare inaccessible to most people outside of elite circles.
A representative of the company previously told Insider that they did not “pay for sponsorships.”
Representatives for Prenuvo did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Prenuvo is a glorified MRI machine
Getting a Prenuvo scan is like getting an MRI, because it is, in fact, an MRI machine. Just like all MRI machines, the Prenuvo creates three-dimensional images of structures inside the body. MRI machines, including Prenuvo, do not use X-rays (radiation).
Typically, MRI machines are used by doctors to evaluate and diagnose a wide range of conditions, including tumors, cardiovascular conditions, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.
The founders of Prenuvo say the scan can identify abnormalities preemptively, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment. If the scan finds something abnormal, patients can take their results to their primary care physician for a follow-up.
The company also claims its machine is more innovative than those used in hospital settings.
“Most MRI scans rely on anatomical imaging, which simply shows organ structures,” Andrew Lacy, co-founder of Prenuvo, previously told Insider. “Core to Prenuvo’s imaging protocols is a heavy reliance on the combination of anatomical imaging together with newer functional imaging techniques, which increases the ability of MRI to accurately discriminate many conditions.”
A Prenuvo scan comes with a hefty price tag: $1,000 for a torso scan, $1,800 for a head-and-torso scan, and $2,500 for a whole-body scan. They do not accept insurance.
Doctors think Prenuvo may do more harm than good
“It’s a terrible idea,” Dr. Matthew Davenport, vice chair of the American College of Radiology’s Quality and Safety Commission, previously told Insider.
Getting a Prenuvo scan could cause harm by encouraging patients to undergo unnecessary diagnostic testing, Davenport said. MRI scans are very sensitive, and therefore more likely to pick up on things that look abnormal — but aren’t. In doing so, previously unconcerned patients may follow up with a risky diagnostic test such as a biopsy — an invasive procedure used to identify whether or not cells are cancerous — that ultimately isn’t necessary.
The American College of Preventive Medicine also does not recommend whole-body scans for asymptomatic people, citing a lack of evidence for their effectiveness.
Although Kardashian wrote that Prenuvo scans have saved some of her friends’ lives, the company has not published any data demonstrating that the scan can catch diseases early or improve people’s health.
Representatives for Kardashian did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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