Difference between Open and Closed MRI

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. MRI is a technique used in medicine to get a picture of what is going on inside the human organism. While closed MRI is designed to put the human body in the enclosed tube, open MRI allows for making scans without using this tube. There are more differences between the two types of MRI. Let’s look at them.


Open MRI vs Closed MRI
Closed MRI system

Closed MRI, or closed magnetic resonance imaging, is a system with a tube-like overall design. Closed MRI gives the most accurate picture of what is going on inside the human body. However, this system is not recommended for patients with claustrophobia.

Open MRI system
Open MRI system

Open MRI, or open magnetic resonance imaging, is the system that doesn’t use a tube design, thus allowing for a more comfortable treatment for patients. This system is also recommended for children and senior patients. The results of open MRI scanning are as accurate as those of closed MRI. However, the resolution of images is lower in the case of the open MRI system.

Comparison chart

Open MRI Closed MRI
Resolution is average Resolution is fine
Produces power from .2 to .3 Tesla Produces power from .35 to 1.5 Tesla
For patients with claustrophobia Not suitable for patients with claustrophobia

Open MRI vs Closed MRI

What is the difference between Open MRI and Closed MRI? Let’s compare them by resolution, level of power, and suitability for patients suffering from claustrophobia.

  • The closed MRI system allows for finer resolution than the open MRI system. Due to the technology used, a closed MRI is able to capture the insides of the human organism with the finest precision. Specialists  can have a clearer picture of the object and the resulting diagnosis is therefore more precise. Open MRI images are less precise and can even be fuzzy.
  • MRI is traditionally measured in Tesla.  The higher the Tesla levels, the clearer the images you get. While closed MRI is capable of .35 to 1.5 Tesla, open MRI produces only .2 to .3 Tesla. Thus a closed MRI system produces higher levels of power and is capable of getting much clearer images than an open MRI.
  • The choice between open and closed MRI is crucial for patients suffering from claustrophobia. Closed MRI is designed like an enclosed capsule which the patient is drawn into and may have to remain in for some time. Patients with symptoms of claustrophobia may feel discomfort during the scanning procedure. If one is affected by claustrophobia, the open MRI system is recommended.


You can see in this video the analysis that reveals differences between open MRI and closed MRI: