Open MRI Machines: Dealing with Claustrophobia and Anxiety

For people who suffer from claustrophobia and anxiety, the idea of a traditional MRI can be a bit unpleasant. Wide hole MRIs can offer a little more space and breathing, but a true open MRI can be a complete diagnostic change. Talk to your doctor to see if a true open-hole MRI is the right solution for your diagnostic needs.

Other types of MRI machines include

Wide hole MRI: Sometimes called an open MRI, a wide hole MRI opens the MRI cylinder another 4 inches (70 cm total), which can accommodate larger or claustrophobic patients. The quality of the image is the same as the standard wormhole MRI, and patients gain a little more breathing space.

3T MRI: A 3T MRI works with twice the strength of a normal MRI, using 3.0 Tesla units (a measure of magnetic strength) instead of the normal 1.5 Tesla MRI. This creates a faster, higher quality image that is useful for diagnosing serious or less obvious conditions.

What is the difference between an open MRI and a closed-hole MRI (traditional)?

Closed-hole MRI:

Traditional (closed hole) MRI uses a cylindrical-shaped device in which the patient is moved to a comfortable bed for the duration of the scan. The technologist will speak to you through a microphone, giving you instructions and updates. Although some people may find these scans confined, they produce the clearest images.

True open MRI

A true open MRI is completely open on all four sides and provides excellent image quality. True open MRI is ideal for patients who struggle with claustrophobia, patients with a high BMI, and young children who need a parent to be present during the exam.

True open MRI can provide patients with

More flow of fresh air

A clear line of sight around the room

Space for additional comfort measures such as pillows and blankets

The possibility of a family member being present during the examination

True open MRIs allow patients who otherwise would have feared or postponed an MRI to get quick, accurate diagnoses and better health outcomes.

“Everyone’s been great. I’m a little claustrophobic when it comes to MRIs; everyone made sure I was comfortable and even let me choose the kind of music I wanted to listen to. The process was quick and easy. I would definitely recommend it! – Medical Imaging patient in Fredericksburg

(Note: Not everyone is a candidate for a True Open MRI, and True Open MRIs are not available at all Fredericksburg medical imaging centers. Talk to your doctor to see if a True Open MRI is right for you.)

Can I have a CT scan instead?

MRI, CT and CAT scans are powerful, non-invasive diagnostic tools. Each scan has fundamental differences and is therefore used in different cases. It is important that you contact your doctor to choose the right option for you.

Positron emission tomography (PET)-This uses radiation and measures the emissions of positron-emitting molecules to create detailed images of the body. PET shows function and molecular activity, not structure, so that you can distinguish between normal and abnormal tissue.

Computed tomography (CT) scan: Uses radiation to create detailed images of the body. Many x-ray images are taken from various angles and then combined on the computer to get a more accurate result, allowing physicians to view from multiple angles to analyze the problem in more detail. It can be used to analyze bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Uses magnets and radio waves to create images of the body’s soft tissues. Because MRI does not use radiation, it is a safe option for radiation-sensitive patients.

What type of image does an MRI produce?

An MRI can create exceptionally detailed images of the body’s soft tissues. They can be viewed from all angles and are shown in cross sections to allow the physician to diag