What is an open solution MRI?
Many patients who have never experienced claustrophobia can find themselves struggling with the condition in a standard, closed MRI unit because of the noise level and extended amount of time the test may take. A manufacturer, Siemens, understood that most patients with claustrophobia were able to tolerate a computed tomography (CT) scan, so with this in mind, they developed an MRI with a shorter tunnel and wider passageway called an open solution MRI.
Baptist Health Floyd purchased the Siemen’s MAGNETOM® Espree open solution MRI equipment in 2011 and has had great success with patients who do not tolerate confined spaces. Depending on which part of the body needs to be scanned, the technician will position the patient to be as comfortable as possible. With the shorter tube length than the traditional MRI, some or most of the body, depending on the area being scanned, is outside of the tube. The wider tube allows for a larger patient to comfortably fit in the scanner.
Both the traditional and open solution MRI use the same level of magnet strength, so the test takes about the same amount of time for each. In a fully open sided MRI, the magnet used has a lower strength and takes approximately twice the amount of time to get the images needed. The open solution MRI has the best of both worlds; larger, more open space with maximum magnet strength for shorter testing time.