OPEN ACCESS MRI SCAN

The most commonly used MRI machine is a closed MRI, often called a ‘donut’ or ‘tunnel’ scanner due to the circular, tube-like shape around the padded table. Traditionally, these high-field scanners are judged to create the best image quality, however a significant number of patients being scanned are actually too claustrophobic to tolerate such a confined space.

Our Open Access MRI is suitable for those patients who are not comfortable in a traditional scanner, as the patient will lie between two large, horizontal magnetised plates, so the sides are open. We particularly recommend this type of MRI scan for patients who are claustrophobic (fear of enclosed spaces) or of a larger build (often classed as bariatric), as they are often more comfortable and feel less anxious throughout the scanning process.

Unfortunately, the compromise is that Open MRI scanners have a lower field strength, due to the ‘open’ nature of the machine. Whilst we can still successfully scan neurological or musculoskeletal areas of the body, we are unable to perform soft tissue scans.

We offer an Open MRI scanning service at our Hendon branch, in North London.

At MRI Plus, our Open MRI service uses a flatbed (horizontal) open scanner.

When you arrive for your Open MRI scan, you’ll be asked to fill in a questionnaire about your current health status. Make sure you complete this honestly and with as much information as possible. This helps the team make sure they are doing all they can to support you during your scan process.

Before the scan, you’ll stay in your normal clothes and remove all jewellery and body piercings. We would recommend wearing soft and comfortable clothing without metal zippers, metal buttons, under-wire or metal of any kind. In some circumstances, you may be asked to change into a medical gown. You will be provided with a locker for all your personal belongings, including your mobile phone or any other portable electronic devices.

If you’re using a contrast dye, this will be injected into your arm by an experienced Radiographer, who will look after you throughout the procedure.

Our team will support you every step of the way before, during and after your scan. You can ask any questions or raise any concerns at any time, and we will be pleased to help.

Your MRI scan will be conducted by a radiographer who will greet you and check your paperwork, before guiding you into the room. If you have chosen to have a chaperone, they will have their paperwork checked and asked to enter the room. Once inside the scanning room, you will be asked to lie on your back or side, dependent on the area being scanned. The radiographer may use pillows or straps to make you more comfortable during the test. This will also help keep you still so the machine can take the clearest images.

The technician will then slide you into the machine head or feet first, dependent on the area being tested. We always endeavour to scan feet first, wherever possible, to reduce the feelings of claustrophobia. The radiographer will then go into a separate room to watch the monitors capture images but will be able to talk to you via a microphone. The radiographer will tell you when to hold still and may ask you to hold your breath to ensure minimal distortion to the images.

During your scan, there may be some loud noises, such as clacks or thuds, and possibly a whirring noise, but the technician will offer you earplugs or play some music for you. If you would like to bring your own music, please provide a CD to the technician prior to your scan commencing.

The test typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour depending on which/how many areas of your body are being scanned. If you require a break, please let the radiographer know and they can resume the scan when you are comfortable.

Once the technician has recorded the images they need, you’ll be free to go about your day. You can eat, drink and resume normal activities straightaway.

You are welcome to bring someone to accompany you during your scan, as long as they are over the age of 16 and successfully pass our safety checks.

We are also happy to provide a chaperone for your scan – please just let us know when booking your appointment.

The price of an Open MRI scan starts at £399. Costs will vary dependent on which type of scan you require, how many body areas require scanning, and the package you choose when booking.

We have a few Open MRI packages that you can choose from:

The Bronze Open MRI package is only £399 and includes a 1-part MRI, on the same day or the earliest possible appointment. Results will be reported within 7 working days. You can add additional body areas for £160 per area.

The Silver Open MRI package is priced at £449 and includes a 1-part MRI, on the same day or the earliest possible appointment. Results will be reported within 2 working days. You can add additional body areas for £160 per area.

The Gold Open MRI package is priced at £499 and includes a 1-part MRI, on the same day or the earliest possible appointment. Your results will be read by 2 consultant radiologists who will write 2 individual reports within 2 working days. You can add additional body areas for £160 per area.

We have a few Open MRI packages that you can choose from:

  • The Bronze Open MRI package is only £399 and includes a 1-part MRI, on the same day or the earliest possible appointment. Results will be reported within 7 working days. You can add additional body areas for £200 per area.
  • The Silver Open MRI package is priced at £449 and includes a 1-part MRI, on the same day or the earliest possible appointment. Results will be reported within 2 working days. You can add additional body areas for £200 per area.
  • The Gold Open MRI package is priced at £499 and includes a 1-part MRI, on the same day or the earliest possible appointment. Your results will be read by 2 consultant radiologists who will write the report within 2 working days. You can add additional body areas for £200 per area.

We accept NHS patients through the NHS referral process. Please speak to your GP or NHS consultant for more information. There are a number of NHS Trusts who routinely refer patients to us who need an Open MRI scan.  These include Royal Free Hospital, Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, Hillingdon Hospital and Royal Berkshire Hospital.