Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging scan that is based on using a strong magnetic field and radio waves to capture and develop clear images of the tissues and organs of the body. MRI, unlike other scans such as CT scan or X-ray, does not use harmful radiation. Open MRI is the kind of MRI that is used for mainly claustrophobic, pediatric, or obese patients. Traditional MRI scanners are a cylindrical shape, but an open MRI does not fully surround the patient’s body. It is typically open on two or three sides. An Open MRI gives a more relaxed, less restricted environment with lesser noise levels making it less stressful for the patient.
Instead of being an enclosed capsule, Open MRI machines use a magnetic bottom and top and their four sides are open, decreasing the risk of claustrophobia and panic attacks, however, the images captured by an open MRI might be less detailed and clear because of the weaker magnetic field.
Open MRI scans are quieter than a closed MRI. These are more child-friendly, making it easier to scan kids, particularly if the parents are present in the room. In addition, Open MRI machines can accommodate a patient more comfortably, no matter what size they are.
Open MRI scans don’t have side effects. Since closed MRI scanners may lead to anxiety, a patient may need medication to control their claustrophobia, restlessness, or anxiety. These drugs may cause some side effects. An Open MRI reduces the need for patients to rely on taking medication in order to complete their scan.
Open MRI scans yield fewer artifacts. If the patient has any metallic objects in their body from a preceding surgery or injury, the artifacts from their metal implants may significantly diminish the quality of their MRI images. However, the Open MRI scan uses a lower magnetic field strength, which yields fewer artifacts from the metallic objects than the closed MRI system’s higher magnetic field. So, a clearer image is obtained from an open MRI scan if a patient has metallic implants.
Traditional MRI scanners are particularly well suited for imaging non-bony parts of a body and the analytical imaging of soft tissues; however, their design is not suitable for all patients. If you don’t like the feeling of being in enclosed spaces, you might want to discuss with your physician whether an Open MRI is a better option for you.