Why You May Need an Open MRI Exam vs a Traditional MRI Exam

March 16, 2020 – 3 min read

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why you may need an open MRI exam

If you’re dealing with a medical problem and your doctor has requested an MRI, your first reaction may be one of anxiety. When most people think of MRIs, they think of a closed-in machine filled with loud noises and a claustrophobic feel. The good news is today’s MRI is stress-free and even relaxing. And if you suffer from claustrophobia, an open MRI exam can be the perfect option to give you the medical results you need while giving you a calming, open-air experience.

What is an MRI? 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an advanced imaging technique that is safe and completely pain-free. Radio waves and magnets are used to capture intricate details of the body’s structure. This gives the MRI the ability to photograph organs, muscles, and other soft tissues an X-ray can’t pick up.

Open MRI vs Closed MRI vs Wide-Bore MRI

A closed MRI is the traditional MRI that most people think of when an MRI first comes to mind. The closed MRI forms a closed capsule-like space where the patient lies completely still. The wide-bore MRI is similar in stucture to the closed MRI, except that it has a much larger opening then the closed MRI.

The open MRI uses the same technology except it provides a fresh open-air sensation so patients can feel more relaxed and at ease. At American Health Imaging, the Advanced Open MRI provides wide-open space in front, behind, and above the patient. This also allows for patients to be positioned in a variety of convenient ways to capture better images from the exact body part that is experiencing the most pain.

Benefits of an Open MRI Exam

One of the first benefits that come with an open MRI exam is its ability to eliminate claustrophobia with its open environment. Since older traditional MRIs have narrow tunnels with a ceiling close to the patient’s face, those that suffer from claustrophobia are put at a greater sense of unease. Not to mention, being told to lie completely still can cause an increase in anxiety. With all of the wonderful benefits that come from an MRI, it’s necessary to have an MRI that can accommodate all patients. This is where the open MRI comes in.

American Health Imaging’s Advanced Open MRI exam gives patients the ability to breathe in fresh air all around them which eliminates claustrophobia. In many cases, patients can watch their favorite TV show and small children can even hold a parent’s hand.

Another great benefit is how an open MRI can support larger patients. Traditional closed MRIs have the same enclosed capsule-space, so not every patient can fit comfortably within a closed MRI. Larger individuals may prefer an open MRI or a wide-bore MRI to a closed MRI so they can relax more comfortably during their procedure.

While having a larger build and suffering from claustrophobia are all good reasons to go with an open MRI compared to a wide-bore or closed MRI, you may need to decide between the two depending on the type of medical issue that needs imagery. The Advanced Open MRI allows you to sit, stand, and even bend so you can put pressure on an area causing you pain and capture an image from that exact position.

While a wide-bore MRI and an open MRI both provide excellent imagery for many medical issues, the open MRI is more beneficial for larger patients, those suffering from claustrophobia, or those with medical issues that could benefit from a variety of positioning. At American Health Imaging, we provide both wide-bore MRIs and open MRIs to suit your particular needs.

Contact us today or talk to your doctor about scheduling your MRI with us so we can help you get on the road to recovery as soon as possible!