Many people don’t like the traditional high-field MRI machines because they are very noisy and require you to be in an enclosed, cylinder-like space. If you’re claustrophobic or get too uncomfortable and fidget in the MRI machine, it could be problematic and the technician may not be able to get the images needed. The tight space and the noise don’t provide the most pleasurable experience for patients but there are other options.

If you don’t like being in an enclosed space but need to get an MRI, what do you do?

An open MRI is a great alternative to the traditional “tube” or “tunnel” MRI machines.An open MRI is indeed “open” on all four sides and is not enclosed like traditional machines.These are great for physical comfort and emotional comfort as well.In an open MRI you will be able to see around you and if necessary, can have a family member close by for support. These “open” machines not only benefit people who don’t like to be closed-in but also people with larger body types and structures.Open MRI’s easily accommodate many different body sizes and is much more comfortable for almost all patients.

Another discomfort or disadvantage of traditional MRI’s is the noise. Although ear plugs are given – for some, the noise is just too much to tolerate. (If you haven’t been in an MRI machine before, it can sound like an airplane preparing for take-off.) However open MRI machines are much quieter and make for a much more enjoyable experience and you won’t feel like you’ve just landed when you get out of the machine.

So why doesn’t everyone get an Open MRI?

Not all diagnostic imaging centers offer or have open MRI machines. Additionally, one of thenegatives to an open MRI is a machine scanner is less powerful than “tube” MRI machines. Even though they take high quality pictures – they are not as  good as high-field machines.However, some MRI diagnostic centers have newer high-field open MRI’s which is the best of both worlds. You’ll get the highest quality image and the comfort that only an open MRI can provide.

Where to get an open MRI in Chicago?

If you are in the Chicago area and prefer an open MRI, the Illinois Bone & Joint institute has state-of-the art MRI machines throughout the Chicagoland area and recently has upgraded to open high-field MRI machines. The new machines offer even quieter scanning and are more comfortable for patients.Find an Open MRI location nearest you or contact an office with any questions.