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Exploring Different MRI Systems: Open, Upright, and Standing Variants

Exploring Different MRI Systems: Open, Upright, and Standing Variants
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Types of MRIs Machines and Techniques: Decoding Open, Upright, and Standing MRI Options

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines give your doctor a unique view of your body’s internal organs. Despite the various MRI scanners available, they function similarly in medical imaging and diagnosing illnesses. 

Traditional MRI scanners comprise a tube with a round opening and a table that slides in and out. Technological advancements have allowed the development of other MRI designs, such as open, upright, and standing MRIs.

Most modern machines are ideal for claustrophobic people or those who cannot lie down due to pain. Some give you the option of sitting or standing, while others have an open view where you may even watch TV during the scan.

Your doctor may recommend a specific MRI machine due to the part of your body they want to see. They also consider factors such as whether you can sit or stand and whether you are afraid of enclosed spaces.

This post will review the three most popular types of MRI scanners. We’ll discuss how each works and list the advantages and disadvantages.

Overview of open MRI machines

Traditional MRIs have evolved to improve patient comfort and accommodate people of different sizes. The size of the tubes has been increased, and the tables have widened, but this still does not help claustrophobic people or those with anxiety.

Open MRI scanners have transformed how scans are conducted by increasing comfort. They have magnets at the top and bottom and are open on all four sides.

Their open nature makes it easy for claustrophobic people to get scans and reduce the risk of panic attacks.

An Open MRI machine

Advantages of open MRI machines

Open MRI scanners offer multiple advantages over traditional scanners. Here is a list of open MRI pros:

Less noisy

Getting an MRI from a closed MRI requires you to remain calm amidst the loud banging caused by the magnets. This makes it difficult for your MRI technologist to get clear and well-detailed images.

Open MRIs use more advanced technology that produces minimal sound, which is unlikely to affect you during the scan.

More child-friendly

Getting a child to stay still during a scan can be quite hard. Kids also don’t respond well to small enclosed spaces like in a traditional MRI.

Open MRIs allow parents or guardians to remain in their children’s view and interact with them. Thanks to their parents' presence, they don’t have to be sedated as they cooperate more.

GetScanned can help you find the right MRI imaging provider for your child. Our platform will provide the most child-friendly options to meet your needs.

Accommodate a wide range of patients

Size can be a determiner of which MRI machine you use. Some traditional MRIs are too small to fit tall people or bariatric patients.

Open MRIs can accommodate almost anyone, including kids. They have a design with minimal limitations and discomfort.

They are also great for older and orthopaedic patients with trouble lying down in one position for a long time. An open MRI guarantees more flexibility, allowing a wide range of people to enjoy its benefits.

Create room for support during a scan

Due to their openness, these MRIs allow patients to stay close to family members or friends. You can comfortably chat with someone nearby while undergoing an open MRI scan.

Many people find having someone familiar close to them comforting. It helps them remain calm throughout MRI scans.

Reduce the need for sedation for claustrophobic patients

Going into a closed MRI scanner is also defined as being “buried alive,” which sounds pretty scary. People who show signs of anxiety or claustrophobia may have a hard time during such a procedure.

Open MRIs are open on all four sides, which puts such people at ease. They may get so comfortable that they don’t need a sedative to withstand the scan.

Better imaging for certain illnesses

Traditional MRIs are undoubtedly the most powerful scanning machines there are. However, open MRI systems tend to perform better and produce higher-quality images for a few sections of your body.

For example, during an orthopaedic evaluation, they capture your bones and joints and produce images with intricate details.

Limitations of open MRI machines

Today, open MRI systems are the go-to scanning solution for many people. However, they have a few drawbacks, which include:

Scan may take longer

Open MRIs have smaller magnets, hence a weaker magnetic field. That is why they are also less noisy than conventional MRIs. The weaker magnetic fields have to take longer to produce MRI images.

Lower resolution images

The images an MRI scanner produces depend on the size of its permanent magnets. Open MRI systems comprise smaller magnets, hence a weaker magnetic field.

An MRI system will find it more challenging to tell fat apart from water, especially when taking images of small body parts.

Limited applications

Unlike conventional MRIs, open MRIs are limited to which body parts they can scan. They are not suitable for every type of medical imaging.

Open MRI near me

Having access to open MRI machines is beneficial for a wide range of patients. It can accommodate ordinary people, the aged, kids, and those with special conditions.

In today’s world, technology has enabled access to an open MRI closest to you. With GetScanned, you can now find an MRI scan centre working with an open MRI.

Simply enter your postcode and the type of scan you want on the website, and we'll provide you with a few options most suited to your needs. 

Cost of Open MRI near me

The cost of an open MRI can start from £300. Every scan fetches a different price since the different body parts require unique positions and amounts of time.

At GetScanned, we help you find affordable yet reliable open MRI scan providers. Our platform provides you with the most ideal options suited to your needs.

Overview of upright MRI machines

Upright MRI scanners allow patients to choose between standing, sitting, leaning, or lying positions. However, this is sometimes recommended by your doctor, depending on the body part in question.

Upright MRIs use a technique referred to as weight-bearing or positional. It allows the patient to position themselves so that the scanner captures the exact position one is feeling pain.

These machines are very effective for scanning the spine and joints since they can be imaged under the effects of gravity for a better diagnosis.

Like open MRIs, upright MRI scanners have two large magnets at the top and bottom. However, the back part is also enclosed, making the patients feel like they are in a tunnel with an open front.

Upright MRI machine

Advantages of upright MRI machines

Upright MRIs have many benefits, from multiple imaging positions to comfort. Let us look at them in detail:

Multiple magnetic resonance imaging positions

The upright MRI is the only scanning machine that allows for multiple positions. This makes it easy for your MRI technologist to capture and generate images of any part of your body.

This allows them to help identify body areas that generate pain, improving your diagnosis and treatment methods.

Increased comfort

The open front can provide room for distraction during the scan to help claustrophobic patients cope with the procedure. Some professionals have TVs you can watch to help you remain calm and unbothered.

They are also ideal for people who cannot fit in a closed MRI or cannot lie flat for extended periods.

Quieter than conventional MRIs

You will likely hear only low-volume intermittent rumbling noises during an upright open MRI scan. However, the noise level may differ depending on how powerful the machine is.

Those with stronger magnets may produce more noise, but it's nothing compared to the sound from a closed MRI.

Increased accuracy and reliability

Radiologists working with upright MRIs can help doctors identify problems that may go undetected by scans where the patient is lying down. 

The multi-position capabilities of an upright MRI allow the operator to capture specific parts of your body with utmost accuracy. It helps display the effects of weight-bearing, making it highly reliable in detecting spinal cord conditions.

Limitations of upright MRI machines

Despite their incredible capabilities, upright MRIs still fall short in some areas. Here are its disadvantages:

Scanning can take longer

A closed MRI machine has a giant magnet surrounding the patient’s body. This means your MRI technologist spends less time in a specific area and has an opportunity to capture detailed images at a go.

On the other hand, upright MRIs are less powerful and require more calibration to acquire and generate high-quality images.

May generate lower-quality images

Like open MRIs, the magnets in upright MRIs are weaker and may not always be able to distinguish fat from water. This results in lower-quality images, especially when trying to capture small organs.

Overview of standing MRI machines

Standing MRI scanners, or open upright MRIs, scan a patient’s body when fully upright or tilted with the head elevated. They help fulfil the needs of people with stiffness or back pain who cannot lie down flat for a traditional scan.

Standing MRIs are spacious and do not enclose you during magnetic resonance imaging.

Standing MRI scanners

Advantages of standing MRI machines

Standing MRI scanning is slightly different from upright scanning procedures. The machine is open and offers the same advantages as an upright MRI.

They are ideal for claustrophobic patients due to their openness. They also generate better images of positional injuries, especially in the spine.

Limitations of standing MRI machines

The limitations of standing MRI scanners are similar to those of upright and open scanners. They are open; hence, they have fewer magnets, meaning they have a weaker magnetic field and may generate lower-quality images.

Open vs upright vs standing MRI machines, which is better? 

The open MRI machine was the first ever effective solution for patients who are uncomfortable in tiny enclosed spaces. It also made it easier for children to undergo magnetic resonance imaging scans.

Upright MRIs further transformed the experience by allowing patients to switch between multiple positions. They became more effective in detecting health issues that may not be visible when lying down flat for a traditional scan.

Standing MRIs are perfect for spinal cord scanning as your body pushes down weight towards gravity. 

The three machines are similar in many ways, with slight differences, such as how you position your body. They’re all user-friendly, and patients rarely require a sedative to undergo a scan.

Most of the time, the machine you use is determined by your doctor. They make recommendations depending on which organs they need to see, whether you’re claustrophobic or have a condition that may limit a specific machine.

However, you should also consider which machine makes you more comfortable. Some people may not be claustrophobic but may find an open MRI machine more comfortable than a closed one.

Conclusion: Choose the right MRI machine for your next scan

MRIs have evolved from enclosed tube designs to more flexible and user-friendly designs. Even though the traditional scanner is still the most powerful MRI machine, modern designs are becoming popular as ideal alternatives due to their flexibility.

Getting an MRI scan may sound like a walk in the park, but it isn’t. Sometimes, finding a radiologist who uses the MRI scanner your doctor specifies can be challenging.

At GetScanned, we bridge the gap between patients and MRI scan providers through our marketplace.

Our platform allows you to find the type of scan you need in your area using your postcode. You can filter your results to get the most appropriate options for you. Book a scan with us today!