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Open vs. Closed M R I advice

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sisoon posted 3/7/2014 15:34 PM

I saw a doc for shoulder pain a few days ago. He'd like me to get an MRI, since the pain may be caused by one or more of rotator cuff, arthritis, something else.

I have narrowed the choices down to a 1.5 Tesla High Field closed MRI or a 1.2 Tesla High Field open MRI.

I had a shoulder MRI in 2008, and I think the magnet was a lot weaker then, so 1.2 Tesla sounds pretty good to me, as does not being enclosed. OTOH, if there's really going to be a significant improvement by going with the 1.5 Tesla machine, I can force myself to tolerate it. But if 1.2 Tesla is enough, I'd rather do that.

Does anyone have a knowledgeable recommendation for this?

Thanks in advance.

LydiaE posted 3/7/2014 16:26 PM


I've had several of both. The only times I've ever felt panic or discomfort were the times I was in a closed unit and the brain was being scanned. I found it quite painful and the cage they put around your head was creepy and confining.

I'd go for the more powerful unit if more accurate results would help your medical situation.

purplejacket4 posted 3/7/2014 19:32 PM

I'm claustrophobic so I'll only do open air.

Jrazz posted 3/7/2014 22:53 PM

For someone who is on the really high side of the anxiety spectrum, I'm surprisingly not claustrophobic so I don't have a ton of advice to offer there.

I do want to send good thoughts about your poor shoulder. When do you think you're going to go in for the MRI?

sisoon posted 3/8/2014 11:45 AM

Next week. I think I'll go open, if only because I can walk to the office/lab.

sparkysable posted 3/11/2014 11:45 AM

I've heard that the closed MRI gets a better picture than the open.

However, the first time they put me in that thing, I panicked. They had to pull me out, calm me down, cover my eyes, and put music on.

The second time I had one done, I did not panic at all, probably because I knew what to expect.

It is really close quarters though.

Lionne posted 3/11/2014 17:09 PM

You commented on my shoulder thread...my MRI, was closed. I'm a bit claustrophobic. It took a relatively short time. Do whatever you need to do to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Mine is a partial tear, accompanied by a lot of inflammation. I was told it wasn't a surgical option because it wasn't a complete tear. And that many of us, of a certain age, may have these tears with no pain. Steroid injections are given if the PT doesn't work. Those are given on a !limited basis.

Good luck!

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