Both the MRI image types and MRI machine types are presented in two views.
There are various specific types of MRI scans that may be ordered by your doctor. Each have their own unique purpose or reason for being named.
Here's a list of the more frequently ordered MRIs, each with more detailed descriptions and examples.
Most everyone's first question is, 'How open is the MRI machine?' However, this really isn't the question they should be asking. If you want to get the best image of your situation possible, you would want to use the best MRI scanner or machine possible.
Think about it - Your doctor, your radiologist, and even you want the best, clearest imaging possible to be able to 'see' just what's going on inside of you. This might mean using a machine that's better suited for getting the highest quality of image possible rather than the highest amount of comfort or biggest opening around you.
The types of MRI scanners will often be differentiated by their magnetic field strength (telsa) or by construction or orientation, such as open, closed or standing. They are usually grouped into the following catagories:
High-Field MRI scannersare usually closed or tube or tunnel like due to their use of stronger magnets ranging from at least 1.5T up to 3.0T. A 1.5T MRI scanner is useful because it provides a really great quality image. It can also boast fast scan times and the ability to evaluate how certain structures in the body others may not. The 3.0T MRI scanner, which is double in strength, becomes great for visualizing very fine detail such the vessels of the brain or heart. There is also an ultra-high field scanner which has a strength of 7.0T. It is not widely available and is typically used for research.
Low-Field MRI scannersare typically identified as open MRI scanners and have a magnet range of 0.23T-0.3T. These scanners are useful for people who are claustrophobic or unable to have a closed MRI scan due to anxiety, weight or size. Low-field scanners are typically open on the sides rather than having the magnets completely surrounding the patient. Low-field MRI scanners have decreased image quality and require a longer scan times compared to high-field MRI scanners, but they provide an alternative for those who otherwise might not be able to have an MRI scan.
A closed MRI scanneror machine is a large tube that a patient lays in. Fortunately, this type of scanner almost always produces images that are of the highest quality. However, the small tube that a patient must lay in can cause a patient who is claustrophobic to panic. Patient comfort in these machines is also sometimes a problem if they are very heavy or large. The MRI machine requires the patient to lie very still. A patients who is moving around can make scanning almost impossible but that can be the case for almost any MRI type. Don't be suprised if your doctor recommends this type of scanner. He's looking to get the best images possible. And aren't you?
The open MRIwas developed in an effort to allow claustrophobic patients more comfort and to allow some obese or larger patients to be scanned. The technology in the magnets with these machines have come very close to matching those seen in a closed MRI. These open MRIs still require a patient to lie down, but do not completely enclose the patient. And that can mean a lot of anxiety relief.
The latest MRI experience is now being tauted from advanced MRI machines that allow patients to stand or sit while having their exams done. While these machines help with patient comfort, they currently don’t provide the high levels of image quality that the closed or even some open scans provide. In the future these machines will hopefully improve in many aspects which will make them much more useful. Right now they are only useful in very specific circumstances. And, as you may find when looking for one, are very rare.
Remember, your radiologist and your doctor can only work with the quality of what he is given. Call around. Believe it or not, it may be worth traveling an extra few miles away to have your MRI done in a less open MRI machine that it is in the wide open one down the street. Talk with your doctor or imaging facility before your next MRI and discuss what is right for your situation.
Any quality medical facility that does MRI exams should be able to tell you what specific machine they would use for your doctor's order and even provide a description of it.
We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
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IMPORTANT: The information on this page, and throughout the entire site, is not intended to provide advice or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s). Images are shown for illustrative purposes. Do not attempt to draw conclusions or make diagnoses by comparing these image to other medical images, particularly your own.
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