Open vs. Closed Spine MRI
Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 28, 2015
MRI scans are useful for diagnosing and treating conditions of the spine (among other things). However, there are several types of MRI scans and choosing the right scan can be difficult. This article will explain the similarities and differences between two types of MRIs: an open MRI and a closed MRI. We will also talk about the pros and cons of each and how to choose the best MRI for your situation.
A closed MRI (short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is what most people imagine when they think about an MRI scan. It is a diagnostic imaging scan that uses magnetic frequencies to produce a detailed image of the body’s internal structures. MRI scans can be incredibly helpful in diagnosing a spinal injury or condition. It can pinpoint the exact level of a pinched nerve, or show the extent of a herniated disc.
An open MRI is a newer design of the MRI machine. The technology works the same as a closed MRI, but the machine provides a less enclosed headspace. Some even allow the patient to sit upright during the scan. Open MRI scans are ideal for patients who suffer from claustrophobia, as well as overweight patients who may not be able to fit comfortably into the machine.
Choosing the Best MRI
Both closed MRIs and open MRIs provide the same general outcome. Choosing between the two is based more on the patient experience during the scan itself. If you easily get claustrophobic, or your weight prevents you from having a traditional closed MRI, an open MRI may be best. Your physician will be able to explain all of the benefits of each scan to you before you make a decision. If you are concerned about your MRI, be sure to speak with your doctor – he or she will be able to answer your questions and put you at ease.