When you think “MRI” you likely picture someone lying down on a board inside a tight, brightly lit cylinder. The person is wearing a hospital gown and looking distressed within the restrictive space. What you are picturing is a closed MRI machine. However, a closed MRI is not the only option available. Not long after the advent of magnetic resonance imaging, the open MRI was developed to meet a wider range of patients’ needs.
What’s the Point of an Open MRI?
Imagine having to spend over an hour in a tight, enclosed space. Now imagine the only opening of the space is at your feet. Next, you have to sit completely still as bright light assaults you, and complex machinery whirs in your ears. For many people, this is not a pleasant thought experiment. For people who are claustrophobic, it’s nightmare fuel. Unfortunately, the need for an MRI will come up in plenty of claustrophobic people’s lifetimes, and an open MRI is a wonderful option for them.
What Are Other Advantages of an Open MRI?
Remember picturing that tiny tube? Well, obese people don’t fit in there, but they still need medical care. A closed MRI is simply not an option for patients too large to fit. As the secret to shrinking technology has not been cracked, the solution remains the open MRI. Don’t forget that a fair number of children might need MRI scanning at some point in their lives too. Kids aren’t exactly known for their ability to sit still or their tolerance for restricted motion. Hence, the open MRI is employed with children fairly often to keep them calm and still.
Whether it’s to accommodate a claustrophobic, obese, or pediatric patient, an open MRI is a blessedly available option. This type of MRI helps patients who would otherwise struggle to get the help they need.