Open Bore MRI
An open bore MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) system differs from a traditional MRI by the size of the opening, or bore, in which the patient lies within a large cylindrical magnet. This magnetic field, along with radio waves and a computer, create a detailed image of the patient’s organs, tissues and bones that aid physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In a traditional MRI, the bore is only slightly larger than the patient, creating a restrictive and to some, uncomfortable environment. The open bore MRI technology was designed to accommodate those obese or claustrophobic patients who could not be served by a traditional MRI.
The newest Siemens technology combines the comfort of the open design with the quality of conventional MRI. The first of its kind, the Open Bore Espree offers an amazing 2.3 feet diameter bore, eliminating the confinement of traditional MRI designs. The Espree also features the shortest magnet, which at only 4 feet long allows for more than 60 percent of exams to be completed with the patient’s head outside the bore. The new feet-first design enables patients to see the exam room and communicate with medical staff at all times. Bodily contact is also possible, allowing children to hold the hand of an accompanying parent for comfort and assurance. Where a head-first exam becomes necessary, patients can enjoy generous elbow and headroom – nearly one foot of space between a patient’s face and the magnet.
The Espree provides up to four times more signal-to-noise ratio over older MRI designs, which is desirable in imaging larger patients. In addition, the Espree can perform advanced exams in less time – an average exam time of only 40 minutes – because it combines strong gradient performance with Siemens TIMT technology. TIMT is the first whole body surface coil design that enables the highest resolution images in a shorter acquisition time. TIMT coils are very light, making them both easy to position and tolerate when scanning larger patients.
The 1.5T Espree can accommodate patients up to 550 lbs., compared to 300 lbs. with closed high field MRI designs. The table adjusts down to a comfortable 18 inches, making it ideal for obese and elderly patients. Starting and finishing an exam is as easy as lying down and getting up from a sofa.
Raleigh Radiology was the first in the triangle to offer the 1.5T Open Bore Espree MRI. This technology is available at all MRI locations.
Frequently Asked Questions
All Raleigh Radiology locations offer the Espree technology. Obese, claustrophobic, and elderly patients no longer need to travel long distances for an open MRI scan.
Absolutely. The Siemens 1.5T Open Bore MRI provide a more comfortable patient experience for larger patients, claustrophobic, or anyone who just wants more space. With the Siemens Espree, one size fits all. Effective October, we will offer Open Bore MRI at all MRI locations.
Insurance coverage for the 1.5T Open Bore MRI is no different than coverage for a traditional MRI. Most insurance plans do require pre-authorization for MRI exams. Patients are advised to check directly with their insurance company for their MRI benefit. Patient benefits may vary for pre-authorization, deductible, or co-pay requirements.
While an open MRI provided a comfortable patient experience and accommodated patients weighing up to 500 lb, a lower strength magnet (0.3 -0.5T) provided poor image quality and little diagnostic significance. The design of the new Open Bore Espree is similar to that of a CT scanner, allowing patients a comfortable, roomy experience. The strong tesla strength (at 1.5T) and features such as TIMT (Total Imaging Matrix technology), allow the magnet to produce exceptional, high resolution images.
There are no known harmful effects created by the magnetic field or the radio waves. The exam is dangerous to patients with certain implanted devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, cochlear implants and aneurysm clips. An MRI would not be performed on these patients. If contrast examination is necessary, then there is a very small risk of allergic reaction to the injected contrast dye.
MRI of the Brain or Orbits
- No eye makeup or hair pins/hair weaves
MRI of the Abdomen and/or MRCP
- No food or drink for 4 hours prior to exam. NPO for 6-8 hours is optimal.
You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose-fitting and has no metal fasteners. You will be asked to empty your pockets and remove eyeglasses, hearing aids, hairpins, removable dental work, jewelry, watches or any other metallic objects.
Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI vary depending on the type of exam. Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take medications as usual. Some MRI examinations may require the patient to receive an injection of contrast into the bloodstream.
The Open Bore MRI at Raleigh Radiology usually eliminates the need for sedation in claustrophobic patients. Raleigh Radiology Blue Ridge, Cary and Cedarhurst locations do provide IV sedation on-site for adults if needed.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a way of obtaining very detailed images of organs and tissues throughout the body without utilizing radiation. Instead, MRI utilizes a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, a rapidly changing magnetic field, and a computer to demonstrate whether or not there is an injury or some disease process present. An MRI exam causes no pain, and the magnetic fields cause no known tissue damage or side effects. However, the powerful magnetic field of the MRI system will attract iron-containing (ferromagnetic) objects or cause them to move suddenly and with great force. This includes items in the body (aneurysm clips…) or external objects. Other metallic implants or objects may distort the MRI images. In addition, some MRI exams may require the injection of a contrast material called gadolinium into a vein to help interpret the exam. Although gadolinium does not contain iodine, recent findings have shown the gadolinium based contrast agents increase the risk of nephrogenic system fibrosis (NSF) in certain patients.
For these reasons, great care is taken to ensure your safety. All MRI patients are asked the following questions:
MRI Screening Questions:
- Is this your First MRI? ____ If no, where was the previous MRI performed? ___________
- Was the previous MRI for the same problem?______
- What is your weight? _____ (If under 550lbs, you can be scheduled at any location.)
- Have you ever sought medical treatment for getting metal fragments in your eyes? If yes, an orbit x-ray will be done free of charge prior to your scan. These x-rays are done on a walk in basis at all Raleigh Radiology facilities that offer x-ray services.
- Have you ever had any type of cancer? ___ If yes, what type and when were you diagnosed?__________
- Are you claustrophobic? ___ If yes, you should be scheduled at the Open Bore MRI locations at Blue Ridge, Cary and Cedarhurst, or Cary. If you and your physician determine that a sedative (such as Valium) is needed for this procedure, you must arrive prior to your scan to complete paperwork and you MUST bring a driver.
- Do you have renal failure? ____
- Are you over 60 yrs old? ____ Are you diabetic? ____
Do you have high blood pressure? ___ If so, we must have labs with a Creatinine to determine GFR. (Labs are considered current within 90 days)
- Do you have any implanted devices such as Aneurysm clips, insulin pumps, TENS unit, epidural drug delivery, artificial heart valve, defibrillator, colonoscopy clips, or a Pacemaker? ____ (If yes, you probably cannot have a MRI or your physician must provide us documentation with make and model of implanted devices )
- Have you had surgery in the last 6 weeks? ___ If yes, what kind?_________________
(We suggest you schedule 6 weeks after your surgery)
- Have you ever had any surgery on the area being scanned? __ If yes, when?___
- Do you have a chest port for IV access? ____ If yes, we do not have a nurse to inject contrast into a port – we must inject the patient.
- Please bring a list of all medications you are currently taking.
Is there chance you could be pregnant? _____
- Does this exam require pre-authorization from your insurance? ______