What is the difference between Open vs Closed MRI machines?

Is the tunnel MRI unit the only available you can be examined with?

The traditional machine is the tunnel MRI. However, more types of MRI units are available for patients. We can divide types of MRI machines due to their energy or position of the patient. Different types of MRI scans are dealing with different parts of the patient’s body. This article focuses on types of MRI machines based on position of the patient:

  1. Closed MRI
  2. Open sided MRI
  3. Open stand-up MRI

Closed Tunnel MRI

A closed MRI scanner is a large tube that a patient lays in. This machine takes detailed pictures of your anatomy in a narrow cylindrical container normally with a bore diameter of 60 cm. Depending on the level of strength of the magnet used for your MRI study, the procedure can last up to 90 minutes or more. Fortunately, this type of scanner almost always produces images that are of the highest quality. However, the small tube that a patient must lay in can cause a patient to panic, if he has a phobia from closed space. Patient comfort in these machines is also sometimes a problem if they are very heavy or large.

Open sided MRI

The open sided MRI was developed to arrange claustrophobic patients more comfort and to allow overweight patients to be scanned. It is open on the sides or features wider openings, while patient is lying on a sliding table. The technology in the magnets with these machines have come very close to matching those seen in a closed MRI.

Open Upright (stand-up) MRI

When being examined with this type of MRI, you are in a standing up position. It allows doctors to perform a scan in the position when your symptoms are the most severe. The radiologist is able to interpret the patients’ images more precisely as they were taken in the position initially causing the severity of the patients’ symptoms. Certain cardiovascular and neurological disorders exhibit their symptoms primarily when the patient is upright. While these machines help with patient comfort, they currently don’t provide the high quality images as the closed or even some open scans.

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