Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging system where magnetic fields, radio waves, and magnetic field gradients are used in order to take pictures of the internals of patients. There are two types of MRI machines: Closed and Open. So what is the difference between an open and closed MRI? In a closed MRI, the patient has to lie down inside a tube-like space.
On the other hand, in an Open MRI, the patient doesn’t have to do that since the machine is open, or at least half-open. The shape of the machine is not the only difference between the two types of machines. There are others. We will discuss the differences and tell you which one you should use for which situation.
Key Differences Between Open and Closed MRI
When someone asks is there a difference between open and closed MRI, the answer is, there are more than a few. What are they? Let’s find out.
This difference is the most obvious one since it can be guessed from the name. In a closed MRI, there is a tube or capsule where the patient has to lie down and he/she will be surrounded by magnets from all sides, while in an open MRI, there is no capsule or tube-like space to lie down. There is a table and the patient has to lie down there and the magnets are there on top and bottom.
Since MRI machines take images by creating magnetic fields and radio waves, an MRI scanner’s magnets’ strength is measured in Teslas or ‘T’. Tesla or T can range between 0.5T and 3T. Closed MRI machines have magnets having strength as high as 3T while the open ones have 1.2T, usually.
Patient Comfort and Accuracy of the Scans
Some patients cannot lie down inside a tube due to some medical reasons, they usually want open MRIs. Both types of MRI can produce accurate results but because of how they are built, sometimes open MRIs cannot take pictures of some areas of a patient’s body.
Which One to Opt For
This is a question that cannot be answered easily because there is no straightforward answer. Both types of MRIs have their pros and cons. Open MRIs may seem the better option because of how they can give comfort to patients and how easy they are to maintain but closed MRIs can produce much better imaging results.
Open MRIs also cost less and they give the patients more options to feel safe during the scan. But it sometimes cannot take pictures of some areas of a patient’s body because of its design and it also creates lesser quality images due to its less powerful magnetic field. This is also a reason why it cannot diagnose a certain few issues. Closed MRIs use a cryogen-free design that comes with powerful magnets to produce the best quality images.
There is no one answer as to which one is better. It depends on the kind of disease is being treated and the condition of the patient. We suggest you take everything into consideration when deciding which one to opt for but usually closed MRIs are a better option despite its few disadvantages.