How MRI Works
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is a sophisticated medical imaging and diagnostic device. They create a low-level magnetic field which causes a specific reaction inside the atoms of the body. The atoms inside each type of tissue in the body react in different ways. The computer hooked up to the scanner senses these different reactions and then turns what it senses into a visual representation of internal functioning of the patient’s body. In the past all MRI machines not only worked the same, but also looked the same. Today, though, there are three different types of MRI scanners available to patients.
Traditional Closed MRI
A closed MRI machine is a large tube that a patient lays in. This style of scanner almost always produces images that are of very high quality. Patient comfort in these machines is sometimes a problem. The small tube that a patient must lay in can cause a patient who is claustrophobic to panic. The MRI machine requires the patient to lie very still; someone who is moving around can make scanning almost impossible. The small opening size of some closed MRI machines means that overweight patients simply cannot be scanned.
Open MRI Scans
In an effort to allow claustrophobic patients more comfort and to allow obese patients to be scanned, the open MRI was developed. Older open type scanners did not produce very good quality images due to a reduced number of magnets. The new machines come very close to matching those seen in a closed MRI. These still require a patient to lie down, but do not completely enclose the patient.
Standing or Sitting MRI
Comfort is a very important part of patient care. The desire to increase comfort led to the development of MRI machines that allow patients to stand or sit. While these machines help with patient comfort, they currently don’t provide a good image quality. In the future these machines may improve in quality, which will make them much more useful. Right now they are only useful in very specific circumstances.
At IBJI we can provide both the closed and open MRI machines to our patients. As part of our mission to always provide the most advanced care and diagnostics to our patients, we recently added an Oasis High-Field Open MRI to our Bannockburn location. The Oasis scans faster and produces higher image quality than most MRI machines available today. This addition mean we inconvenience our patients less and allow them to be much more comfortable while still getting great diagnostic information to ensure excellent medical care. Make an appointment at one of our 8 Chicago area MRI locations today. Our friendly and highly trained staff is the right choice for your diagnostic imaging need.
This information is not intended to provide advise or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s).