Open MRIs vs. Closed MRIs – Explaining MRI Equipment

MRIs are one of the best ways for doctors and patients to determine the condition of the internal body. By using a strong magnetic field and radio waves combined with computer technology, radiologists use MRI machines to take images of the body without making any type of invasive procedure.

MRIs can be used on a number of different body parts and conditions but it is most often used to diagnosis musculoskeletal conditions, cancer, or vascular abnormalities. For example, if you are having constant back pain, your doctor may want to schedule a spinal MRI to make sure you don’t have a bulging or herniated disc. Or if an athlete tears the fragile ligament or cartilage in their knee (ACL injuries are one of the most reported sports injuries) an MRI will likely have to be performed in order to determine whether surgery is necessary.

You may be wondering how a magnetic machine can take pictures of your internal organs but it is really quite easy to understand. Your body is composed of molecules and atoms that attract and react to magnetic forces. Once inside of the MRI chamber, your body will be in a magnetic field. Once your body is exposed to that magnetic field, the different kinds of atoms are rearranged through the radio signals of the MRI machine. They allow the computer mechanisms to form an accurate picture of the internal organs. This way if a certain part of the body is diseased, injured or enlarged, the atoms will transmit their abnormality through radio signals and once the image is formed, doctors can see that something is incorrect and can further investigate.

The aforementioned process occurs in any MRI procedure regardless of the kind of MRI equipment being used. The traditional forms of MRIs are high fiels and closed, meaning that circular magnetic mechanism makes a complete circle. This is the best way to get accurate and diagnostic pictures. However, some patients complain about a feeling of claustrophobia or just being uncomfortable inside the MRI chamber. So in 1996, an open MRI was invented. An open MRI allows for patients to feel lees confined. Because of its design, the open MRI has an incomplete magnetic circle chamber but it also allows for patients to feel more relaxed. The major disadvantage to having an open MRI is that the quality of your images will not be as good as those taken in a regular high field MRI. Because the magnet cannot make a full revolution, the radio signals can become slightly distorted. You will still have a fully recognizable internal image, it just may not be to the quality that a high field MRI would give you. At Doctors Imaging we offer both types of MRI.

If you need to have an MRI performed, speak to your doctor about the options and types of procedure you can have performed. If you are too nervous about the results of the exam or worried about a feeling of claustrophobia, your doctor may be able to prescribe a light sedative or have calming music played during your procedure. Since MRIs are a form of medical imaging, patient movement can be a time-consuming problem. When patients during move during their procedure, the images can be blurry or incomplete. This means that the process has to begin again, costing more time. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we aim to make our patients feel as comfortable and welcome about their procedures as well as any questions they may have. We offer the use of a 3T MRI or open MRI machine, the strongest available machines for routine imaging procedures in the efforts to give our patients the best imaging. If you have scheduled your appointment and have more questions about our MRI equipment, we want our patients to know that they can call anytime and speak to a representative about their procedures, what should be done before, costs and results.

You can get in touch with our specialists by calling 504-883-8111 or through this form.

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