Spring Hill MRI is dedicated to the emerging technology of low-field, patient-friendly Magnetic Resonance Imaging systems. Claustrophobic, obese and pediatric patients, along with those suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, are often able to comfortably undergo MRI examinations in these “open architecture” systems while failing to tolerate traditional “closed” MRI systems. Open systems are quieter and more comfortable for patients.
Open magnets which have been developed more recently, typically are either permanent magnets or resistive electromagnets. The typical open configuration consists of two large, rounded, horizontally oriented metal discs that are the poles of the magnet between which the patient is placed. These magnets have no sides and are thus “open”.
Currently, advanced techniques to detect early stroke, subtle multiple sclerosis plaques and cartilage degeneration in the knee are available only on high field, closed scanners. MRI myelograms can be performed only on high field systems. Ultimately, you should discuss with your doctor and radiologist which type of scanner is best suited for your examination.
To sum “open MRI” up, an image from an open mri is more like a polaroid picture while a high field “closed” image is like a digital picture. The difference is quite staggering and most radiologist prefer reading a high field image.
Open MRI units do not have the same magnetic strength as a traditional closed unit. A smaller strength magnet translates into a lower quality picture. In fact, the magnetic strength of our unit (1.5 Tesla) is more than quadruple that of most open MRI’s (.25 to .50 Tesla). Also consider that the exam time is usually doubled in time compared to a High-field exam.