Open MRI

System makes MRI easier for many patients

Vidant Medical Center has installed a new MRI machine to increase access to this important diagnostic tool. Children, claustrophobic people and obese patients typically have difficulty with MRI scans. The Magnetom Espree [TM] Open Bore MRI system by Siemens offers more space during the scans, easing discomfort for those who are overweight and anxiety for claustrophobic patients.

MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create images of organs and structures inside the body. Doctors use images from the exams to make diagnoses. During an MRI, patients lie on a table that slides into the scanner. Traditional MRI systems slide people in head first, and patients usually spend the exam time staring at the magnet with their face inches away. But with the open MRI, 60 percent of exams can be done with the patient's head outside the machine.

This new system has many other advantages especially for claustrophobic patients, obese patients and children.

  • The opening is 2.3 feet in diameter and has nearly one foot of space between the patient's head and the magnet.
  • 1.5 Tesla strength makes it just as strong as a traditional MRI, which gives doctors precise images.
  • Patients also do not have to be repositioned as often. The Open Bore system can complete a head-to-toe exam in a single pass.
  • Children can be accompanied by a parent during the exam.

The open machine allows patients to see and communicate with the technologist at any time. An oversized window in the room overlooks a garden area, and the ceiling features a scenic mural. For children needing an MRI, this system allows parents to safely be in the room. They can even hold the child's hand in most cases.

After an MRI exam, a radiologist will study the results and report to the referring physician. Vidant Medical Center's MRI department is accredited by the American College of Radiology. MRI scans are read by radiologists board certified in body and neurological MRI, and Vidant Medical Center has a pediatric specialty team to serve the youngest patients. Our expertise combined with fast, high-quality images, give patients confidence in their results.

If you need an MRI, talk to your physician about the open MRI. 

To refer a patient, call 252-847-3060.