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Real Patients with Real Fears Tackle the Real Open MRI

posted on WED, MAY 27 2015 by Center for Diagnostic Imaging

Sweaty palms, a pounding heart, shortness of breath. Patients with claustrophobia say the mere idea of an MRI makes their bodies react. But we talk to patients about what they did to face those fears and make it through the exam. One common factor: Rather than getting a traditional MRI, these patients found a High-field Open MRI. While a traditional MRI is often described as a “tube” or a “tunnel”, Dr. Joel Newman of the Center for Diagnostic Imaging says a High-field Open MRI looks, “Like the buns of a hamburger without the hamburger in between.”


Not All “Open MRIs” Are the Same

Unfortunately, CDI technologist Melissa West says there’s a mixed message for patients about MRI machines. Some companies call their scanners “open” when they’re really just a slightly wider version of that “tube” or “tunnel” style scanner (aka Wide-bore MRI). West says a lot of her patients have been confused and booked appointments elsewhere, only to find out the “Open MRI” wasn’t really open. She says when they come to CDI, “They’re very satisfied with our machine. It’s truly open.”

Claustrophobics say there is a major difference between the experience in a real Open MRI and any other MRI scan because:

  • You have a 270-degree view: The scanner is open almost all the way around, allowing for better air flow.
  • You can reach your arm out and hold hands: Patients say the human touch helped them finish the exam.

The first step for patients in need of an MRI is to understand what kind of machine will be used. To know what to look for in a real Open MRI, watch this video:


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