What is the Difference Between an Open MRI and a Closed MRI?

open vs. closed mri

At Alliance MRI, we perform several different types of scans and examinations using both open and closed MRI scanners. But what is the difference between the two machines, and which one is right for you? Here are some of the key differences between an open MRI and a closed MRI:

  • A closed MRI is both more powerful and, as a result, more detailed. An open MRI operates with lower power magnets, whereas the stronger magnets of a closed MRI can provide more defined details to help identify signs and symptoms of several serious conditions that would be more challenging to recognize using an open MRI. Although an open MRI can still be used, common uses of closed MRI machines are to identify issues related to:
    • Strokes
    • Tumors
    • Aneurysms
    • Damage to the circulatory system
    • Arthritis
    • Disc disease
    • Bone infections
    • Liver
    • Kidneys
    • Uterus
    • Ovaries
    • Prostate
  • An open MRI is more comfortable by nature. One of the main purposes of an open MRI is to provide a better environment for patients who suffer from anxiety, claustrophobia, or obesity. These conditions can make an examination in a closed MRI uncomfortable or even impossible, so the open MRI is a great alternative.
  • As another result of the higher magnetic power, closed MRI scanners are able to scan patients more quickly than if they were to use an open MRI. The stronger magnets allow radiologists to capture a more high-definition image of the area in question with a shorter relative scan time.
  • Certain detection techniques are also only possible in closed MRI scanners. Using higher power magnets, radiologists are able to look for things like cartilage degeneration in otherwise tough to analyze areas like the knee and other joints, as well as subtle issues like multiple sclerosis plaques.

Learn more about the different MRI scanners at Alliance MRI

We offer open MRI procedures at our San Antonio and The Woodlands locations, and closed MRI procedures can be scheduled at every Alliance MRI office.

For more information on which type of MRI scanner is best for your condition or to schedule an appointment, contact Alliance MRI today.