Open MRI Scans

Do you feel uncomfortable or anxious when lying in enclosed spaces, and dread having an MRI? At MRI Plus, our Open MRI scanner provides airflow, clear line of sight, breathing room and added comfort for patients with claustrophobia or limited mobility. We offer Open MRI scans in London for self-paying, health insured and NHS patients.

Book now from £399

What is an Open 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.

How can an Open MRI help with anxiety and claustrophobia?

If the idea of being in an MRI scanner fills you with dread, you are not alone. Numerous patients express hesitation about having an MRI scan.

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

What are the benefits for patients choosing an Open MRI scanner?

An open MRI system offers the following benefits to patients:

  1. More open structure

    An open scanner doesn't cause the same levels of claustrophobia and anxiety as a closed MRI scanner. Since the unit doesn’t fully encase your body, you can view outside of the Open MRI scanner instead of staring at an enclosed space.

  2. Less noise

    Some patients require earplugs during an MRI Scan with the closed MRI scanner because the loud noises during the examination might be uncomfortable. Due to the open nature of the Open MRI scanner, it produces less noise and reduces discomfort levels during a scan.

  3. Suitable for all shapes, sizes and physical ability.

    The wider shape of an Open MRI can help patients who are elderly, disabled or physically impaired by providing easier access and more room, for a more comfortable scan.

  4. Bring a friend for support

    The additional space and open sides of the Open MRI scanner means that you have the option to bring a family member or friend to accompany you, to reduce feelings of anxiety and claustrophobia.

What happens during my Open MRI scan?

Your Open 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 Open MRI machine head or feet first, dependent on the area being tested. We will always aim to scan feet-first where possible.

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 Open MRI 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.

How much does an Open MRI scan cost?

Our Private Open MRI scan cost in our London clinic starts from £399.

We offer a range of comprehensive diagnostic packages which all include a written report by a specialist consultant radiologist. Your report will be sent to your chosen clinician within the timeframe specified in your chosen MRI scan package and you shall receive a copy for your records.

If you are interested in an Open MRI scan but not looking to pay privately, you can request an NHS Open MRI scan with an NHS referral. Please contact your GP or specialist for more information and ask to be referred to us.

We are also recognised by all major Private Health Insurers, and we offer a 0% Interest Credit option (subject to status) which enables you to spread the cost.


Our expert clinical team will guide you through the process, with a 1-1 consultation, referral, and digital imaging report included in the price of your scan booking.