• Emma B

Open MRI vs. Conventional MRI: Which One Is Better for You?

If you are in need of an MRI, you may be wondering if an open MRI or a conventional MRI is better for you. Both types of MRI have their own advantages and disadvantages. The type of MRI that is best for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Open MRIs are a newer type of MRI that offer several advantages over conventional MRIs. One advantage of open MRIs is that they are more comfortable for patients. Open MRIs also have a shorter scanning time and do not require patients to hold their breath during the scanning process.

Conventional MRIs do have advantages over open MRIs. Conventional MRIs also allow for a wider range of scans to be performed such as brains, spinal cords, and organs.



Conventional MRI


These have been around the longest and make sure of a capsule-like space to take high quality images. The patient lies in and the radio waves send signals to the body and receive them back. The returned signals are then converted into the images.

Positives for this MRI scanner is that due to the typical tunnel shape it is able to take images of different parts of the body, in which an open MRI may not be able too. Such as, organs and spinal cords.

However, some negatives to conventional MRI’s is that although the quality of image is good, you have to keep your whole body still for the images to be recorded clearly. If you move and the images turn out burry, you may have to undergo the process again.

Also, if you suffer from claustrophobia, it may not be the right choice for you. Due to the shape and dimension of the conventional scanner, it can induce the panic that comes along with having claustrophobia. Especially when you must lay still for an extended period of time.

Another downside that is if you are overweight, depending on how small the scanner is it may be very uncomfortable, or you may not fit at all. There are wide-bore MRI systems that are larger, however not everywhere has them.



Open MRI


Positives to an open MRI which can be explained in greater detail from the previous blog post.

However here is a quick updated list:

- Less enclosed: more comfortable for people who suffer with claustrophobia

- Quieter than a closed MRI: more comfortable

- Promote equity: if you are suffering from movement issues, it allows for easier access

- They are more advanced: more research and funding are being put into them


If you have any concerns, contact MSKdoctors and we can get you booked in for an open MRI scan to discover what may be the cause of your pain.

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