Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures are performed every day in every city in the country. MRIs come in two types—closed and open. Closed MRIs closely envelope the patient on all sides and often cause him or her to feel claustrophobic and tense. The machine can look and feel like a tunnel. Open MRIs have sides that are open, and therefore reduce the possibility of the patient feeling closed in and anxious. The size and shape of the MRIs are what make them so different, even though they all use the same principles to operate properly.
How Does an MRI Work?
MRIs of both types offer radiology procedures that scan and take pictures of various body parts, from head to feet and everything in between. The scans are taken from many different angles, because different areas of the scanned body part need to be examined by the doctor. MRIs use magnetic fields to create these images, and MRI scans can tell the doctor a lot about the ailment that is affecting the patient. The procedure usually lasts a long time, often from thirty minutes to one hour or more. During this time, the patient must lie extremely still and quiet. Therefore, it is important that the patient is completely relaxed during the procedure.
MRIs can be used to diagnose areas, such as joints and internal injuries, and they can diagnose diseases and other medical issues. They are a very valuable and much-used tool in today’s medical climate. Both open and closed MRIs use no ionized radiation, so no harmful radiation is used during the procedure.
Why an Open MRI?
Radiology procedures can be nerve-racking even under the best of circumstances, so finding ways to reduce the patient’s anxiety is important. Open MRIs allow the patient to feel like he is in a large, open, and airy space, so it reduces anxiety, which in turn allows the patient to relax during the entire procedure.
The use of open MRIs can sometimes mean that patients can insert only the body part that is being scanned into the MRI, and some MRIs even allow the patient to remain sitting upright. Open MRIs provide opportunities for the patient that closed MRIs cannot. With open MRIs, and some types of scans, the images may not come out as clearly as they would using a closed MRI. If you have any questions about your specific procedure, your doctor should be able to give you more appropriate advice regarding closed versus open MRIs.
Participating in a radiology procedure using an open MRI allows the patient to relax and lie still during the entire procedure, which results in a more accurate reading. Overall, open MRIs present the easiest option to the patient during a medical scanning procedure.
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