I’m Claustrophobic: How Can an Open MRI Benefit Me?

I’m Claustrophobic: How Can an Open MRI Benefit Me?

As orthopedic specialists, the team here at Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics, led by board-certified orthopedic surgeon Marc Pietropaoli, MD, relies on advanced diagnostic imaging, which includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Whether you’ve had an MRI or heard about it from a friend, all you know is that the thought of being enclosed inside a machine leaves you cold, if not downright panicked.

We recognize that claustrophobia is relatively common and affects up to 5% of people in the US, which is why we have a state-of-the-art open MRI system.

Here’s why MRIs are necessary and why an open MRI may be your better option.

Why an MRI?

While X-rays do a great job of providing a first glimpse inside your body, they are better for hard tissue injuries, such as broken bones. With an MRI, we can get a more detailed look at the hard and soft tissues inside your body, allowing us to diagnose musculoskeletal issues with far more accuracy.

This diagnostic tool is noninvasive and relies on a powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer that work together to create an image.

Why most MRIs are problematic for those with claustrophobia

While the MRI technology is noninvasive, the experience can be difficult if you have claustrophobia. To create a magnetic field, most MRI machines feature long, metal tubes that we slide you into, at least as far as we need to target the right area of your body.

On top of the confined space, the machine can be very noisy as it grinds and moves to create the image. 

The benefits of an open MRI

As the name suggests, an open MRI is just that — open. Instead of relying on a capsule to create a magnetic field, we create the same field with a magnetic top and bottom, leaving all four sides open.

To be sure, the open MRI offers the same great imaging, as well as other benefits, which include:

Not only are open MRIs perfect for those with claustrophobia, but they’re also an excellent solution for kids or patients who may have a disability, such as being in a wheelchair.

If you have more questions about the open MRI and how it works, please call our office in Skaneateles, New York, at 315-303-8352, or book an appointment with us online.

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