Open MRI Vs. Closed MRI – Here’s What You Need To Know


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So you’re experiencing a medical issue, and your physician has prescribed an MRI. Your first response is one of reservation and worry. While MRIs are often required, they are rarely enjoyable. What are your choices, then? The best part is that getting an MRI nowadays does not have to be as painful as it formerly was. Along with conventional closed machines, bigger “wide bore” machines or even open MRIs are now available. There may be other options available to you, depending on your specific circumstances.

MRI Machines 

To conduct the scan, the MRI equipment generates a magnetic field of a specified intensity. The MRI Elizabeth NJ exposes your body to magnetic fields. This causes the particles and ions in your body to respond by generating radio waves. The combined impact of the waves magnifies your inside organs. This enables the doctor to see them in more detail and detect any abnormalities. The doctor may examine the pictures on a screen or print them out using specially built diagnostic equipment.

Since their invention, MRI scanners have had a major effect on how physicians examine internal organs and detect specific illnesses. Doctors can more properly identify and research brain illnesses and ENT issues, spinal problems, musculoskeletal, cancer, and other difficult-to-diagnose conditions during their early stages.

There are two kinds of magnetic resonance imaging systems:

  1. Open MRI 
  2. Closed MRI

While closed MRIs are common, you may choose to try an open MRI if you are overweight or too claustrophobic to endure a closed MRI. However, the architecture of the system is not the sole distinction between open and closed MRI. As a result, you should educate yourself on both of them and thoroughly weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each before making a final choice.

Closed MRI

Closed MRIs are the most used scan and capture high-quality pictures by using a capsule-like environment. An electromagnetic field is utilized to transmit and receive signals from the patient’s body via a magnet within the equipment. A computer connected to the scanner converts the returned signals into pictures. The magnet field strength of an MRI scanner is measured in teslas or “T,” with most scanners falling between 0.5T and 3.0T. These pictures provide comprehensive information that enables physicians to make a precise diagnosis and tailor a treatment strategy to your particular ailment. Due to the form of the scan, it can capture pictures of regions that are not accessible with other types of scans, which means that closed MRIs are sometimes absolutely required.

The disadvantages of closed MRI are mostly related to the lack of comfort provided to the patient. The scans’ size and form are very tiny and enclosed, resulting in claustrophobia. The fact that a complete scan takes several minutes raises the danger of claustrophobia, and in certain instances, panic episodes may occur.

 Because movement within the capsule distorts the pictures, it is also critical that the patient maintains absolute still, or the scan will have to be repeated. Additionally, the small dimensions imply that many conventional closed devices are inaccessible for obese patients.

Engineers and scientists developed wide-bore MRIs in response to patient complaints about closed scans. While these MRI machines remain closed in the conventional sense, their interior dimensions have been increased, reducing the probability of panic attacks and claustrophobia within the machines and enabling bigger patients to fit.

Advantages Of Closed MRI

The primary benefit of a closed MRI is that it produces more detailed findings. Due to the greater magnetic field, it will produce higher-quality pictures. This aids physicians in diagnosing you more accurately. When attempting to identify the following, a closed MRI is better. Here are some of its advantages:

  1. The wrist’s anatomical structure.
  2. Lesions of the fibrocartilage.
  3. Metastases to the liver.
  4. Patients with brachial plexus will have a visualization of their nerves.
  5. Multiple sclerosis lesions.
  6. Multiple-vessel or single-vessel illnesses in individuals with coronary artery disease

Disadvantages of  Closed MRI

The disadvantages of MRI include the following: 

  1. All patients must remain motionless while lying on the scanner. This is a source of concern for all claustrophobic sufferers.
  2. These devices are very noisy due to the loud pounding sound they produce when scanning.
  3. It will be difficult to accommodate bigger patients inside the machine.

Open MRI

Open MRIs are exactly what they sound like. They are transparent yet continue to capture pictures of the interior of your body using magnets. Open MRIs utilize magnets on the top and bottom and are unenclosed on all four sides. These significantly reduce the danger of claustrophobia, allowing patients of various shapes and sizes to use an MRI to evaluate their issues properly.

In certain instances, this is the only option available to patients. However, due to the design of the open MRI, it cannot scan some regions of the body. The pictures it can capture are of worse quality due to the open machines’ lower strength compared to closed or wide bore MRIs. As a result, an open MRI is not always a viable choice. Certain scans need the use of a closed system.

If you have doubts, your best course of action is to speak with your doctor about your options. Conduct research to ascertain the kinds of equipment utilized prior to scheduling an appointment. If you choose an open MRI machine, inquire about the machine’s strength at the location where your test will be performed.

Advantages of Open MRI

  1. It has a considerable amount of room in comparison to closed MRI
  2. It is quieter than a closed MRI.
  3. Open MRIs are also suitable for children.
  4. Additionally, you may rotate the open MRI.

Disadvantages of Open MRI

  1. Produces pictures of poorer quality than closed MRIs.
  2. It takes a little while to extract the pictures from the open MRI.

Comparison between Open MRI and Closed MRI 

In general, you should understand the value of MRI imaging and how it offers physicians a unique picture of the insides of your body. It is a critical component of contemporary medical imaging and illness diagnosis. MRIs often offer critical diagnostic information that other kinds of imaging tests do not, and in many instances, they result in earlier identification and treatment of your disease.

Comparing closed or open MRI systems is often controversial since saying definitively one system is superior to the other relies on a variety of variables. MRI technology is continuously developing. Open MRI systems improve their “T” strength every year, whereas closed MRI systems improve patient comfort.

The closed MRI system is the most precise MRI system available. For the scan, you will lay in a tube-like, constricting space structure. Patients often report experiencing claustrophobia when undergoing a conventional closed MRI scan. Obesity may make undergoing a closed scan almost difficult. If this is really the case, open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be preferable.

Certain people who have claustrophobia may stay motionless in a closed MRI for 15 minutes. Fortunately, your physician or MRI technician may be able to assist you in overcoming your nervousness and avoiding fidgeting


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