Open-sided MRI scanner calms anxious patients

14 July 2011

A state of the art, ‘open-sided’ MRI scanner has been bought by The Newcastle Clinic. Now people in the north of England and Scotland who suffer from claustrophobia or anxiety can now benefit from the revolutionary diagnostic service.

With the traditional ‘closed’ MRI units a recorded 10% of referred patients are unable to receive a scan because of claustrophobia or anxiety. Many simply cannot cope with the closed tight tube and associated noise leaving them to suffer long term with injury or have serious problems undetected.

The scanner is also ideal for patients who may be too large to fit into the confined space of a closed scanner and people needing a companion in the same room such as children and the elderly.

The Newcastle Clinic has invested close to £700,000 for the new scanner in the belief that it can serve this important catchment of patients including NHS as well as private referrals. The scanner is currently the only privately operated open sided unit in the north of England, but with 80% of its referrals from the NHS the Newcastle Clinic has had an NHS referral process in place for its imaging services for more than 10 years.

Shaun Fryer, Managing Director at the Newcastle Clinic said, “This is a completely open scanner providing a much more comfortable and relaxing environment. It is not enclosed in any way so is particularly ideal for patients who are of large build, who may be claustrophobic, frail or anxious.

“To help keep the patient calm and to promote a stress free experience most patients are able to read, listen to music and have a companion sat with them whilst they are being scanned. This is not possible with a closed scanner.

"It is also very quiet in comparison with a conventional tunnel MRI scanner, so it's much less intimidating for children, who can see their parents and be reassured throughout the scanning process."

There are many advantages of open MRI over traditional MRIs especially when it comes to the patient’s safety and comfort. Physicians now recommend open MRI owing to its high accuracy which helps in early detection of serious conditions such as cancer and tumours.

The latest Signa Ovation mid-field model at The Newcastle Clinic performs a comprehensive array of exams, including studies of the central nervous system, body, joints, extremities, and some cardiac and vascular anatomy. The machine configuration makes it easier to find the field of view for shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and wrists and offers patients greater comfort, shorter exams and fewer retakes, while providing physicians with a wide range of applications and excellent image quality for diagnosis.


To top