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How Good/Accurate Is A Open MRI ?

Note* I hope this is in the correct forum, if not feel free to move :)

My daughter went in for a regular MRI tonight and did not fit ( she gained a LOT of weight since her injury - plus she just had a baby 4 weeks ago ).

They thought they maybe could get her in by having her put her arms above her head but then she went into a full panic attack - she did not know she was claustrophobic.

Her 1st and only MRI was done in a open MRI as a in patient when she was first injured. Aka: she was very well drugged.

So now we need to find a place that does open MRI ( she has moved since her 1st one ).

However we have both heard that open MRIs are not as accurate? :??

Plus the tech guy did tell us that he was not 100% sure she would fit even in a open MRI :S

We know her L & S ( I think L5 & S1 ) are herniated but while she was PG she lost feeling and control of her legs and this issue remains, hence part of why they want a new MRI. Her last one is almost 4 yrs old.

What do you all know about the open MRIs???
L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.


  • Open MRI's are ideal for those who are claustrophobic or large. However there is always a trade off. Open MRI's typically have weaker magnets which produce a poorer quality image. The newer ones are being fitted with stronger magnets, but given the cost of an MRI system upgrades will probably be on an "as needed" basis. Other issues with open MRI's is that patients tend to move around a lot more than they do in a closed MRI. So between poor image quality and patient movement, it generally takes longer to do a scan and produces less than stellar results.

    If the doc isn't trying to see something real hard to detect, then the open MRI will probably produce a significant enough quality image to suffice. Your daughter may want to discuss that with her doc.

    Hope this helps.

  • Thanks C :)

    They want the new MRI to see if there is more disk damage as well as nerve involvement from disks possibly "sitting" on the nerves.
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    those Open MRI's have their purpose. When they were first introduced, the image quality was so poor that sound diagnosis was almost impossible.

    They have come a long way since then. But the image quality is still not as fine as the standard closed MRI's. Some day, the magnets will be powerful enough to equal the conventional styles.

    For many people, the results from an Open MRI are just fine. I think the problem comes when a doctor really needs to fine tune something because they are not completely sure what the problem is.

    Have your daughter go for it and let the doctors who read it determine if they have enough information
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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