MRI, MRI Experience

What is an MRI? MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI scanner allows physicians to look inside the body without using surgery, harmful dyes, or X-rays. The MRI scanner uses magnets, radio waves and computers to develop clear images of the human anatomy.  MRIs give better images than any other diagnostic imaging equipment out there. If this is your first time getting an MRI, you may believe that the experience may be uncomfortable and overwhelming. Luckily, there are now a couple different options when you go for an MRI depending on your preferences and the recommendation of your doctor.

Open MRI

An Open MRI is often used by larger or more athletically built patients - although those who experience claustrophobia and/or anxiety would also see this as a preferable option. It has a large frontal opening and allows for slight movement during the procedure (unlike a closed MRI). It’s also a lot quieter due to the fact that it’s not surrounding you like the plastic cone that your dog had put on after his last surgery, so sound waves can scatter around the rest of the room and dull the noise.

One of the drawbacks to the Open MRI is that the magnets used generally aren’t as powerful as those in a Closed MRI. Thus, the images aren’t as high in quality or resolution, but they are high enough in quality that the doctor can still get a good read.

Closed MRI

A closed MRI machine is shaped like a donut and you lie horizontally on a table and enter the machine headfirst through the sliding table. Once in, you are enclosed on all sides. Occasionally there will be a screen in front of you to watch a video, and frequently the patient will be given a buzzer to press if they ever feel uncomfortable. As always, it’s a totally painless procedure and is usually completed in about an hour.

The downsides are that it can be very noisy (although certain centers offer the option to watch TV or listen to Pandora radio through headphones), and being enclosed may be a little unsettling at first. Also, because of the power of the magnets, you have to lie extremely still or the images could come out blurry. 

The MRI experience doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or frightening. Address your concerns with your physician to ensure that you have the best experience possible. For all your imaging needs, Advanced Imaging Centers provides quality care in three separate locations. You can schedule an appointment by phone or online today.