Open MRI vs. Closed MRI: Pros & Cons

Most people are familiar with MRIs, but few of us understand the options out there. Here’s a quick recap of the differences between Open MRIs and Closed MRIs:

Closed MRI

closed MRIThe most common device is a closed “bore” (tube) MRI. While the closed MRI is generally considered the most accurate, it’s also the most feared by patients.

  •       Narrow Tube

As a patient lies in the magnetic tube, radio waves are used to scan the body and create computer images. These images can be used to diagnose various health conditions. The overall process takes about 45 minutes, during which a patient must remain still.

  • Loud Noises

While conducting the scan, the machine typically makes loud noises. In some medical cases, high-field MRIs are required, which are known to cause the loudest noise. The noise is nothing to be afraid of — it simply has to do with the magnetic field. However, it can be an added stress if you’re already experiencing anxiety.

  • Claustrophobic Reactions

Being expected to remain still for 45+ minutes in a narrow, enclosed tube can be unsettling and can even cause extreme claustrophobic reactions in many patients. Many patients are unaware that they are claustrophobic until they begin the scan and see the walls of the tube only inches from their face.

Open MRI

Open MRI

Medical Imaging Express utilizes a unique, open-room MRI, the first of it’s kind in S.C. Unlike the closed, “tube” MRI, the open-room device can offer significant relief from claustrophobia.


  • Open-Room Setting

With a truly open-room setting, patients can see and interact with their surroundings during the procedure. Nervous patients can even bring a family member into the room. This is especially useful for children, who may want to hold a parent’s hand and hear their reassuring words in order to stay calm and still throughout the 45+ minute exam.

  • Quieter than Most High-Field MRIs

Medical Imaging Express’ MRI device is much quieter than most high-field MRIs, which helps reduce patient anxiety. We also offer headphones during the exam to help with noise reduction.

  • Tilting Feature

Our open MRI has titling abilities, also known as “weight-bearing.” In other words, patients can be scanned in a more natural, standing position rather than lying flat. For conditions such as lower back pain, sports injuries or spinal injuries, the tilting feature can help radiologists diagnose with greater accuracy.

Schedule an Appointment!

If you’re seeking relief from claustrophobia during your next MRI scan, you’re welcome to schedule an appointment for our Open-Room MRI. We serve patients throughout the Upstate SC and Western NC regions, including:

  • Greenville, SC
  • Anderson, SC
  • Spartanburg, SC
  • Hendersonville, NC
  • Asheville, NC

Call us at (864) 990-2987 or visit our Appointment page to make an appointment!