Open MRI

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67-year old Michael O'Connor is undergoing an Open MRI. A world of difference, he says, when compared to the typical tube-like scanner.

"This is a much better experience because, you know, the openness of it."

Open MRI machines are not completely enclosed -- instead both sides remain open. Recently Michigan State University Radiology Center unveiled the technology. MSU Radiologist Dr. J. Kevin DeMarco says its the only one of its kind in Mid-Michigan.

"The newer generations, which this is an example of, are much stronger than the first MR's that came out. While those were popular ten years ago, the image quality wasn't really up to snuff."

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It puts a patient in a strong magnetic field that allows doctors to look inside the body in a non-invasive way.

"If you're having headaches or seizure activity we look at the brain. If you're having pain in the knee or shoulder then we look there."

While the technology is useful to those who are claustrophobic or obese, it does have its drawbacks.

"To make the images as good it needs to be a longer study. So patients need to be in there a little bit longer and the image quality can never quite be as good as the closed magnet."

It's just an alternative to the standard.

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