MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a type of medical scan that utilizes radio waves and magnetic field to capture images of organs inside the body. It is a painless technique that allows doctors to look at the soft tissues of the body. It is different from regular x-rays because it does not expose the patient to radiation.
The machine used for this procedure is called the traditional or the tunnel-type MRI because they look like long, narrow tunnels. The patient lies on a table which slides inside the tunnel or tube, head first.
Once inside, the patient is advised to remain perfectly still for 30 to 60 minutes to obtain a good quality MRI. The tunnel is confined and does not allow the patient any room to sit up. It is very uncomfortable and quite intolerable for claustrophobic persons and for children.
That is why another type of MRI has become available in the market. It is called the Open MRI, a patient-friendly type of machine which offers comfort and convenience. At first, the Open MRI did not catch the attention of the medical world because it produces poor-quality images unlike the traditional MRI. But there’s a new generation of Open MRI machines which not only offers comfort and convenience for patients but also produces high-quality images.
Open MRI comes in different types: the Open-Upright and the Open-Sided. In the Open-Upright procedure, patients are scanned in the best possible position where the condition is most severe. When patients are scanned while standing or sitting, the radiologist can interpret the images more precisely as they were taken in a position when their symptoms are in their most severe state.
The Open Sided MRI is designed to help the claustrophobic, the obese, or the handicapped feel comfortable and relaxed during their MRI procedures. Though criticized for having poor image quality when it first came out, it has quickly caught up with technology and now meets the higher quality standards set by medical facilities.
Advantages of Open MRI:
· It is designed without the tube or tunnel structure that traditional MRI machines have, therefore has ample open space for patient comfort.
· It can accommodate without much discomfort for heavier patients.
· It provides children a comfortable environment during the MRI examination. It enables the parent to talk and maintain eye contact with their child, for a more reassuring experience.
· It provides comfort and convenience to those who are claustrophobic and those who are nervous about MRI procedures.
· It generates less noise and as a result, the patients being scanned need not use earplugs anymore.
· The position of the magnets can be adjusted to only the specific portions of the patient’s body that need to be scanned. For instance, in a head or brain scan, the rest of the patient’s body need not be encased inside the machine.