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3 Benefits of Open MRI Scanners

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Whether you are looking to purchase an MRI for the first time or you are a seasoned veteran looking to replace an existing magnet, here are three reasons why you should consider purchasing an open MRI scanner:

Lower Up-Front Cost

With very few exceptions, open MRI systems are much less expensive to purchase than their closed-bore counterparts. This is largely due to their simple and compact electronic systems and (with a few exceptions) cryogen-free design. Transport and installation costs are also less expensive for open MRI than closed as the engineering side of the project is much less involved. Ramp down, ramp up, and a helium fill are non-issues.

On top of the logistical savings, buying a used open MRI is substantially less expensive than buying new. Most open systems tend to be at least 10 years old, but seldom break down or malfunction. It's a safe bet to place them in the "workhorse" category.

Lower Maintenance Cost

Because most open MRI systems are permanent magnets, they do not require the kind of tedious attention and service that most superconductive magnets do (cryogen fills and monitoring, cold head replacement, chiller maintenance, etc.). Typically, full service costs for an open MRI will be 40% - 50% less than the cost of full service for a closed MRI.;

Can Increase Patient Scan Volume

The open MRI is able to accommodate not only existing patients (and existing volume), but larger patients as well as those that are claustrophobic. Open systems are also a good option for scanning children. For these reasons there is real potential to gain referrals your facility may not have been able to accommodate previously. This results in increased scan volume and organic business growth – all while increasing visibility for your practice.

The Caveat

When you look at the benefits of open MRI, you might ask, "Why don't more facilities own these?" The main reason is that open MRI systems have lower magnet field strength. Most of these units top out at .35T while a typical closed MRI has 1.5T. If a patient isn't small (i.e. a child) or precluded from closed MRI by size and/or claustrophobia, many physicians are unwilling to make the sacrifice in image quality that comes with lower field strength.

Hitachi_0.3T_Airis_II_MRIFor your consideration, here are some of the more popular open MRI systems on the secondary market:

  • Hitachi Airis II (.3T)
  • Hitcahi Airis Elite (.3T)
  • GE Ovation (.35T)
  • Siemens Open C! (.35T)


See our MRI Machine Cost and Price Guide for average price ranges on these and other systems!

If any of these sound like benefits you're ready to look into a little deeper, we're ready to help you make a great MRI pick for your needs. Contact us directly to start the conversation with one of our MRI experts or keep reading in our free MRI Buyer's Guide to learn more on your own.