Understanding the Primary Differences Between an Open MRI and Traditional MRI

When an MRI is needed, there are many things to consider. The choice between using either an open or closed (traditional) MRI is something you should discuss with your doctor, since these two machines operate differently. 

Precise MRI of Michigan in Lathrup Village, Michigan, provides MRIs of every kind for those who need them. Here in our ACR-accredited facility, our highly-trained team is ready to ensure your experience is safe, comfortable, and easy. 

We can also help you decide whether an open MRI is right for you. So, what are the differences between open and traditional MRIs, and why do they matter?

Open MRIs vs. traditional MRIs 

The concept behind both methods is the same: using magnetic resonance imaging to look inside the body and produce a picture. This can help your doctor get a better idea of your condition. For example, a head MRI can help identify conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injuries, and bleeding. 

The most obvious difference between open and closed MRIs is the general setup. Whereas closed, traditional MRIs put you in a small space for the imaging process, open MRIs are just that: open. Some models even involve you sitting upright or standing as the machine operates. 

Open MRIs produce weaker magnetic fields (and thus, less detailed images), though they still perform well and produce quality results. In many cases, the images from an open MRI will serve the same purpose as those from a traditional MRI. 

What kind of MRI do I need? 

This depends on why you're receiving an MRI, what your doctor needs to see in the images, and your personal feelings towards MRIs. Open MRIs are a valuable alternative for those with claustrophobia or anxiety disorders. If you feel intensely anxious in confined spaces, you might need an open MRI.

Open MRIs are also more accommodating for larger people. Traditional MRIs can be narrow and confining for someone of average weight--and difficult for anyone bigger. Open MRIs solve that problem by allowing more space. Because of this, open MRIs can also be used for motion studies of joints. Inside a closed MRI, this is not possible due to the small space. 

However, the weaker nature of the magnetic fields means that open MRIs cannot always be used in place of closed machines. Sometimes, a more detailed image is necessary, and a closed MRI is needed.

If you have claustrophobia or anxiety in tight spaces, are overweight, or need a motion study done, an open MRI might be a great alternative to the traditional MRI for you. 

You can learn more about open MRIs by discussing the matter with one of our expert providers. Our knowledgeable team is here to help you determine if an open MRI serves your needs. You can contact Precise MRI of Michigan by calling 248-403-8572 or booking an appointment online

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