Our Hitachi Altaire is a High Field Open MRI so it provides excellent image quality in a very open and non-claustrophobic environment. Our equipment was recently upgraded with enhanced software, to improve image quality.
What is an Open MRI?
Open MRIs are just like they sound. They are open, while still using Magnets to take images of the inside of your body. Instead of an enclosed capsule, the open MRI uses a magnet top and bottom and is open on all four sides. These decrease the risk of claustrophobia and panic attacks exponentially and allows patients of all shapes and sizes to be able to make use of an MRI to accurately diagnose their problems.
Common uses of this procedure
Because an MRI Scan can give such clear pictures of soft-tissue structures near and around bones, it is the most sensitive exam for spinal and joint problems. MRI is widely used to diagnose sports-related injuries, especially those affecting the knee, shoulder, hip, elbow, and wrist. The images allow the physician to see even very small tears and injuries to ligaments and muscles.
How does it work?
Open MRI is a unique imaging method because, unlike the usual radio graphs (x-rays), radioisotope studies, and even CT scanning, it does not rely on ionizing radiation. Instead, radio waves are directed at protons, the nuclei of hydrogen atoms, in a strong magnetic field. The protons are first “excited” and then “relaxed,” emitting radio signals, which can be computer-processed to form an image. In the body, protons are most abundant in the hydrogen atoms of water — the “H” of H2O — so that an MRI image shows differences in the water content and distribution in various body tissues. Even different types of tissue within the same organ, such as the gray and white matter of the brain, can easily be distinguished. Typically an MRI exam consists of two to six imaging sequences, each lasting two to ten minutes. Each sequence has its own degree of contrast and shows a cross section of the body in one of several planes (right to left, front to back, upper to lower).