Open MRI Compared to Other Diagnostic Imaging Techniques

March 16, 2020 – 3 min read

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Open MRI Vs Other Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic imaging allows doctors to take a look inside a patient’s body to gather clues concerning medical conditions that can otherwise go unseen. From traditional MRIs to CT scans and X-rays, each imaging technique provides a certain advantage to help a patient find what is ailing them and get back on the road to recovery. One of the latest forms of diagnostic imaging is the open MRI. If your doctor has ordered an open MRI, you may be wondering what this exam can do for you and how it compares to other common forms of diagnostic imaging.

What is an Open MRI?

Open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a beneficial imaging technology created to eliminate claustrophobia with its fresh open-air design. Patients can enjoy wide-open space above, in front, and behind them during the entire MRI exam.

While the technology remains the same—capturing detailed images of the body through a combination of magnets and radio waves—the structure and accessibility is greatly improved.

This updated MRI technology allows patients to fully relax during their exam and even, in some cases, watch their favorite TV show.

The open MRI is also a wonderful solution for weight-bearing imaging. This technology allows for every part of the body to be imaged in the weight-bearing state to capture the full effect of gravity on the body. If you’re suffering from an injury you can be positioned in a way that shows the area of your body experiencing the most pain.

Since a traditional MRI consists of a closed capsule-like tunnel, larger patients could find an MRI exam uncomfortable. The open MRI allows space for patients of all sizes making it convenient for every patient.

The Open MRI Compared to Other Diagnostic Imaging

When it comes to diagnostic imaging, there can be some confusion on how the open MRI compares to other services and which type of imaging is right for you.

Digital X-ray

Digital X-rays are electromagnetic waves that are transmitted onto a body part and pass straight through certain tissues while being absorbed into others. This is how you receive those familiar white-on-black images of bones and joints. Digital X-rays are very similar to traditional X-rays except they use image sensors instead of traditional film which cuts out time consuming chemical processing. While X-rays are beneficial for finding broken bones or fractures, they cannot produce images of soft tissues such as organs and muscles like an MRI can.


The ultrasound differs from the MRI in that the ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images by sending electrical energy which vibrates in a probe, or what is called a transducer. These sound waves then travel from the transducer into the body where they are reflected at different rates on the body’s tissue. Once these waves return to the transducer, a connected computer reads the information and converts them into an image we call a sonogram.

CT Scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan is a great imaging technique for patients with unusual symptoms. While an MRI examines organs, muscles, and other soft tissues, a CT scan uses a rotating series of X-rays to create cross-sectional images of the body focusing on fractures, abdominal injuries and blood clots.

At American Health Imaging, we provide digital X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, wide-bore and open MRIs a long with a wide range of other imaging techniques. If your doctor recommends you receive an MRI, or any of the other common diagnostic imaging exams, contact us today so we can help you quickly and conveniently set up an appointment and get your results back in no time.