Knowledge is power. And knowing more about things that could impact your complete health is one of the most empowering tools you can have throughout your life’s journey.
Chances are, you or someone you know has had an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). But you might not really know about the different types of MRI technology that could impact your wellness.
So, we’re arming you with some important information on this valuable imaging test, explaining four differences between open and closed MRI machines in particular.
But first, let’s stick to the basics and learn what MRIs are in the first place.
MRIs have evolved to become a critical way that physicians accurately diagnose and study certain diseases of the joints, tendons and ligaments, as well as the brain, spine, neck, breast, abdomen and muscles.
MRI machines use radio waves and powerful magnets to produce specific images of the body. With that, they carry different risks and restrictions compared to other imaging scans. While very safe, magnets in the MRI machine are sensitive to metal materials that can bring risks and also interfere with the quality of images. So, it’s important to remove any metal on your body during the MRI scan and talk to your doctor about any metal objects you might have from prior surgeries or accidents.
When most people think of an MRI, a closed tube-shaped machine comes to mind. While this is the most accurate and most popular type of MRI, the open MRI can be an alternative in some cases.
Here are the main differences between open and closed MRI machines.
1. They differ technically.
MRI machines have different levels of electromagnetic power, which is measured in Tesla units.
For certain diagnostic tests, a higher Tesla power is needed. While a closed MRI system has a power that varies from 0. 5 to 3 Tesla (a high level of power), an open MRI might only offer 0.2 to 0.3 Tesla.
This is because an open MRI uses two large metal discs to generate the power, opposed to an entire tube that generates more power in the closed MRI machine. For some patients, a closed MRI system is necessary because a higher power is required to get the required diagnostic imaging quality.
2. They differ in design.
A closed MRI uses a capsule-like space. Acting like a large magnet, radio waves are used to send signals to the body and receive signals back. An attached computer then converts them into detailed images.
The tube-like 360-degree design of the closed MRI can generate images of the entire body. In comparison, the open MRI is more restrictive. So, in certain instances, an open MRI might not be an option.
3. They differ in patient experience and comfort.
If you do not find discomfort in being in tight spaces, a closed MRI could be just fine you. But if the thought of being inside of an enclosed tube sparks instant anxiety, an open MRI might prove to be more comfortable. The open design with greater internal dimensions can also be helpful for patients who are larger in size, have physical limitations, children and senior citizens.
Today, many imaging centers are making closed MRIs a more comfortable experience for patients, offering calming environments, music during the imaging test, preparation programs for children and more advanced technology to generate the highest quality images in the least amount of time.
If you or a family member must have an MRI, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your upcoming imaging test, options and any concerns that you have. Remember, the more that you know, the more power you have in your complete health. And at Florida Hospital, we are here for you every step the way. Call us today at (844) 876-0241