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Open Vs. Closed MRI

Updated on August 14, 2016
rebeckadepalma profile image

Just a single mom raising her own 3 kids and her brothers 3. It's a hectic life, but someone has to do it.

Always Ask Questions

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, this is generally used to look at soft tissue areas that CAT scan and x-ray’s are not able to see properly. Many people are terrified by the fact that they have to undergo an MRI and they are claustrophobic. That means that they are afraid of tight spaces, a common thing that MRI technologists work with daily.

A closed MRI machine is a long cylinder tube and a single procedure can take 30-90 minutes. {The length is the same no matter if it is a closed or open MRI machine.) This brings out the claustrophobia in people and as a technologist, it is our job to soothe and comfort the patient as much as we possibly can. We are there to help ease their fears as well as perform the procedure.

Closed MRI’s often are a higher tesla, which means that the quality of the images is better and more defined than on an open MRI machine that has a lower tesla and resolution. That’s just something to think about.

Open MRI machines look more like a hamburger bun where the sides are open, they just have a column on each side. This really can help a patient who is claustrophobic or even sometimes larger than the average patient. Remember that an open MRI machine generally produces grainy and harder to see images.

Personally, I would not sacrifice quality for comfort, but I am not claustrophobic. If you have any questions, please make sure that you discuss your options fully with your physician prior to booking an MRI so that you are able to get the quality you deserve and if you might happen to need arrangements prior to the appointment, such as a sedative.

In conclusion most open MRI machines I have been exposed to as a technician are between a 1 and a 1.5 Tesla, closed MRI machines that I have been exposed to are generally a 3 Tesla. Read up on the information and always discussion fears and options with your doctor. I hope that this was about to inform you a little about options and to encourage you to always ask your healthcare provider questions concerning your health.


Closed MRI vs. Open MRI vs. Wide-Bore MRI

© 2016 Rebecka Hanrahan

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