Upright MRI: A Less-Scary MRI Option

Upright MRI MachineA new option for MRI scans is an upright MRI machine. In this type of machine, the person is sitting or standing in the machine and can be positioned in several ways. If you have pain while standing or sitting, but not while laying down, the technician can put you in the position that causes your pain so the doctor can see exactly what may be causing your pain. They are different from a traditional scanning machine in that they are open and the person will not feel an anxious or scared when they can see what is going on. In the closed MRI machines, the person must lie still on a table and be pulled into the machine. If they begin to get upset, it can take a few minutes to get them out of the machine. In an upright MRI, there is no problem with claustrophobia and less anxiety.

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Open MRI: Worry Free MRI

What is an Open MRI?

Open MRI machine with doctor and patientImagine getting an MRI scan without having to squirm inside a metal tube for  an hour! Whether you’re anxious or even claustrophobic, an you can get an Open MRI without being in an enclosed machine.

There are several types of open MRI machines. Instead of a tunnel-like machine, some open machines look like a ring that only part of the body is in at one time. There are also machines that the person lays on the table and is slid under the scanner. Other options include sitting or standing up machines.

One complaint is that, sometimes, the quality of the MRI is not as good as with the typical machine. New technologies are improving the picture quality and all of the machines sold now can take the same quality scans that closed machines do. The scans from older machines are good enough to see potential problems and if needed, a traditional enclosed scan can be done to pinpoint a smaller, specific area.


Open MRI Machine woman sitting

Open MRIs are advantageous for those who get anxious in small spaces or have claustrophobia. The open machine allows them to see around and not be enclosed in a tight area for a long period of time.


Getting an open MRI scan allows parents to talk to and see their children throughout the exam so the child may stay calmer. Open MRIs also offer faster screening and this minimizes the need for sedation for children who need to have an MRI. This helps keep both the parent and child relaxed.

Large Size

Another advantage of open MRI machines is for people who are too large for traditional machines. Obese people cannot use a closed MRI machine because of their size, so an open machine is the only way to get a scan for them.

When the doctor tells you that you need an MRI, you can request an open MRI scanner. Because it is a newer technology and the machines are expensive, there may not be an open machine available in your city. Although most MRI scanners that are sold now are open machines, few of the machines are available, even in large cities. The cost for an open MRI should be the same as a normal MRI scan. Most insurances cover at least part of the cost of the test. An open MRI machine is definitely the right choice for many people.

MRI CPT Codes for 2013

MRI CPT Codes Joke

This is a list of MRI CPT codes for 2013. CPT codes are useful when calling MRI centers to request prices or information. There are so many different options and areas of the body that having a simple 5 digit MRI code is easier, so the person you’re talking with knows exactly what type of scan you need. It’s also helpful for insurance, since reimbursements happen based on the CPT code.

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Yes, Getting an MRI is Complicated. Here’s One Story

Here’s a true story written by a neurologist struggling with mis-interpreted results from an MRI scan. His patient came to him after seeing an internist the previous week. The internist had ordered an MRI which came back “normal”. After looking over the MRI image himself, the neurologist determined that the image quality was too poor and never should have been flagged as “normal”. Continue reading

MRI or X-Ray: What’s the Difference?

There is a misconception that when a doctor requests an MRI instead of an x-ray, that the problem is more serious. This is simply not true. An MRI gives the doctor a much clearer view of what is happening in the body. There is also no radiation involved with the MRI, so it is safer from that vantage point. However, it is more expensive than x-rays, and not always covered by insurance. Continue reading

How to Relax Before Your MRI Test

Medical tests are scary. There is no other way to say it. The concerns of what will happen, the side effects of the procedure and the results that you may hear all add up to what can be a terrifying experience. The best thing you can do before tests is try to relax. You do not want to go into a test so worried that the procedure cannot be done and you will have to come back.
If you need to have an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), talk to someone that you trust and see what their experience is like. Find someone who is a generally positive person or all you may hear is how scary it was or how sick they felt. Reading information online can be even worse, as most people tend to write the bad stuff and not so much of the good. Limit the amount of information you read on certain sites. Remember to take everything you read with a biased eye and that everyone is different. Some people are prone to anxiety and their pain tolerance level is low. They will be the ones with the scary stories. Only you will feel as you do during the test. Continue reading

How to Avoid These 5 MRI Side Effects

UPDATED April 2018: Questions to ask, or story to share? Check out the MRIguides Forums

When a doctor states that you need an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), scary thoughts can go through your mind. Often, every horror story you have ever heard of terrible side effects can be the first things you think about. Side effects are possible with any medical procedure, but most people do not have side effects and report no problems either during or after the scan. Continue reading