MRI Scan

Open MRI and Closed MRI: Choosing the Best Option

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most powerful diagnostic pieces of equipment in modern medicine. However, some people have a feeling of dread when they hear they will have an MRI scan. Probably, because we’ve all seen the images of MRI in film and TV. The futuristic tube you crawl into and the alien sounds it makes can cause apprehension. When a doctor recommends that you need an MRI, its good to know that there are two types of MRI. It could be a traditional MRI or an open MRI. The majority of people do not know their MRI options and the alternatives available.

What An MRI Does

An MRI, in effect, takes images of your body. These can be single cross-sections or layers of our body or a series of images that form a comprehensive image of our tissues and organs. An MRI can create a 3D image of our body too, allowing doctors to get a better sense and nuanced view of the patient they are treating. It is a non-invasive and painless method of diagnosis. It is a much more comprehensive piece of equipment than an X-ray and less hazardous as an MRI uses magnetic fields to create its images, whereas an X-ray requires some exposure to radiation.

Open and Closed MRI

Brain scan results

Closed MRI has been in use for much longer than the open MRI. It’s designed in such a way that it takes detailed images of your body in a narrow cylindrical container which is a closed capsule-like space where the patient lies completely flat. One of its advantages is that it is able to take images that other scans cannot capture. However, larger or overweight patients may feel uncomfortable. Also, individuals suffering from claustrophobia may feel anxious due to the closed-in space and loud noises that emanate from it. The procedure may take up to 90 minutes or more depending on the strength of the magnet in use.

Open MRIs were designed to address the disadvantages of closed MRIs. They offer an alternative for people who suffer from symptoms of anxiety or those who are large and find it uncomfortable to be an MRI tube for prolonged periods of time. The technology used in an open MRI is similar to that of closed MRIs but it allows for an open experience. This can alleviate a great deal of anxiety, however, the open structure may mean that some imaging is slightly less detailed than with a closed MRI system.

A few things to have in mind when choosing the right system include patient comfort and smaller operating costs which make the open MRI a better choice. However, a closed MRI enables the production of higher quality scans in less time.

Doctors will determine the best MRI to diagnose you, however, do let your doctor know if you have any concerns regarding having a closed MRI. It may be the case that under the circumstances and if one is available, then an open MRI will be perfectly adequate for your diagnosis.

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