The thought of an MRI is frightening to some people. If you’re like most, you know that an MRI is performed by laying on a table and moving through a tube with large cameras that circle around you. These cameras are taking images of the blood vessels and other parts of your body. It’s a highly detailed scan, unlike an X-ray that only shows the basic components of the bones and other details of the inside of the body. An open MRI scanner is beneficial compared to a standard scanner. It’s not as frightening, and more types of patients can use the open system.
One of the benefits is that an open scanner isn’t enclosed, so it’s a better option for those who are claustrophobic. The open design is only a table with a large machine that circles around instead of an enclosed tube. You can see the technician as well as the details of the room, which can often help to keep you calm if you don’t like being in spaces where it seems like you can’t move or where you’re restrained. Someone else can remain with you in the room. Children can have a parent or nurse on the table with them during the scan with the open system.
There is usually less noise from an open machine than there is from one that is enclosed. The loud noises can be frightening to many patients. You have the option to wear earplugs, but that sometimes doesn’t help the fact that you’re in a tube. An open scanner is sometimes able to scan more areas of the body that an enclosed machine isn’t able to reach, especially if you have trouble moving around. Obese patients can rest better on the table with an open scanner instead of possibly not fitting inside a standard MRI machine. Elderly patients can also feel a bit more comfortable with this kind of layout. Since an open MRI allows for fewer other machines to be used and more patients who can utilize the machine at the hospital instead of going to other facilities, it can help to cut the costs that the hospital has to pay.