What Are The Different Types of MRI and Which One Should You Choose?

MRI and CT Scan
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An MRI scan is often associated with claustrophobia and fear. However, there are different types of MRI scanners like the newer 3T ones with ambient experience that significantly reduce the incidence of claustrophobia. So, if you need an MRI scan, what kind of scanner should you choose? The first thing to remember is that every scanner has a different magnetic strength, measured in Tesla units. Generally, the MRI machines available today have strengths ranging from 0.2T to 3.0T – of which the 3.0T MRI produces the clearest images. Apart from the Tesla strength, MRI machines are differentiated into 3 categories based on their structure and design – these include closed MRI machines, wide bore MRI machines, ‘truly’ open MRI machines and open upright MRI scanners.

A common rule of thumb? The lesser the diameter of the bore of the scanner, the greater the clarity of the image.

Let’s have a look at the different MRI scanners available.

1) Closed MRI

A closed MRI scanner is a narrow cylindrical container with a bore diameter of 60 c.m. They have up to 3T strength, which is the highest magnetic strength available in commercial MRI scanners. Because of this high magnetic strength, images of great clarity are produced, which helps in better diagnosis of medical illnesses.

3 Tesla MRI

This has the highest magnetic field strength of all commercially used MRI machines, and also has a high signal strength, which results in a detailed image. For example, a 3T MRI can easily capture blood vessels as tiny as 200-300 micron, as well as vascular problems anywhere in the body. Details related to conditions such as arthritis, disc disease, or bone infections are not missed either and the analysis of the state of internal organs is comprehensive. It also requires a short amount of time as compared to other types of MRI scanners.

3 Tesla MRI
What about claustrophobia?

While the 3T MRI is a closed MRI, 3T MRI machines with ambient experience (like the one at Star Imaging) greatly reduce claustrophobia. This is because our 3T machine allows patients to watch movies and videos during the scan while creating an illusion of more space and light. There is also improved sound control while using this 3 Tesla MRI, which significantly adds to patient comfort.

2) Wide Bore MRI

These are partly open scanners, with wider openings and more headspace than the closed scanners. The bore diameter is 70 cm (the size of a hula hoop). These scanners may prove more spacious especially for patients with a broader build. However, the image clarity is not as good as closed MRI scanners, as this machine only has a magnetic field strength of 1.5T. In this sense, its features are a middle ground between the ‘truly open’ and closed MRIs.

3) ‘Truly Open’ MRI

This kind of MRI is open on all 4 sides, allowing for more ventilation and flow of air. But, this also means that the quality of the image and details captured are not as good as compared to those generated by the above two types of scanners. The open nature of the MRI means a relatively weaker magnetic field too – this type of scanner has a maximum strength of 1.2T.

Truly Open MRI

4) Open Upright MRI

The open upright MRI features a machine with a completely open front, designed to allow patients to sit upright during the entire examination, just as they would in a chair. However, the open upright MRI has the lowest magnet strength of the alternatives.

Open Upright MRI
So which MRI machine should you choose?

Ideally, it would make sense to choose the 3T MRI scanner that offers maximum image clarity, since this will ensure a more accurate diagnosis. If you’re claustrophobic, the 3T MRI with ambient experience can provide a much more comfortable experience; or you can also choose to get sedated. But whatever you choose, make sure to research the imaging centre and technology beforehand, so that you make a more informed choice.

Have any more questions on (3T) MRI, CT or other scans? Feel free to call us at 020 4132 2222 – we are Pune’s leading diagnostic centre.

About Star Imaging

Have any more questions on (3T) MRI, CT scans or other imaging tests? Feel free to call us.
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