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Wide-Opening MRI

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Wide-opening MRI scanners at UPMC Imaging Services offer more space, allowing you to breathe easier.

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a non-invasive test that uses magnetic waves to take two- and three-dimensional pictures of the inside of the body.

Because an MRI can take fast and accurate pictures of the body from all angles, doctors can look at body parts, organs, and tissues from head to toe, allowing for more accurate diagnoses.

If you are claustrophobic or unable to lie on a flat table, UPMC Imaging Services has wide-opening MRI machines available. They allow you to have the same tests done without being put in a narrow cylinder.

We also offer a reduced length scanner so that your head can remain outside during some procedures.

Wide-Opening MRI Benefits Versus Standard MRI

Wide-opening MRI scanners offer more space and comfort than traditional MRI scanners.

Extra-wide openings

Wide-opening MRI scanners:

  • Offer nearly a half foot more space in diameter, providing room for lying on your side or raising your knees
  • Are perfect for people with large or broad frames, including athletes, as well as those with claustrophobia
  • Give you breathing room, providing a more relaxing experience

Clear, accurate images

  • Offer the same advanced technology and exceptionally clear imaging results as traditional MRI scanners

More precise diagnoses

  • Produce accurate, high-resolution images that can lead to a more precise diagnosis

What to Expect During Your Wide-Opening MRI Test at UPMC

MRI scans require you to remain very still, to avoid blurriness in the images. The table you are positioned on will slide into a cylinder that contains an extra-wide opening.

Depending on your condition, you may have monitors to track your pulse, heart rate, and breathing.

If a contrast dye is used:

  • A small IV needle is inserted into your hand or arm before you slide into the MRI scanner.
  • First, a saline solution is dripped into your vein to prevent clotting.
  • Then, the dye is injected. Some may have an allergic reaction to the dye, but this is rare.


  • The technologist will leave the room.
  • Through the intercom, the technologist will give you directions, such as to hold your breath. You can talk to the technologist through this intercom as well.
  • The technologist will take the pictures. You will know the exam has begun once you’ve heard loud clicks. These clicks signal that the pictures of the body are being taken. You can request ear plugs if the clicks are bothersome.
  • When the exam is done, you will slide out of the scanner. If you have an IV needle, it will be removed.

After Your Wide-Opening MRI Test

A board-certified radiologist interprets your high-quality digital MRI scans. Then they are delivered to your doctor, via our state-of-the-art computer system.

If your images are ever needed, they can be accessed by any UPMC hospital or facility at any time of the day or night.

Where We Offer Wide-Opening MRI Testing

Ask your doctor about having your wide-opening MRI at a UPMC Imaging Services location, or call 1-800-533-8762, option 1, to make an appointment. Same-day, evening, and weekend appointments are available.

UPMC Imaging Services offers wide-opening MRI technology at various locations, including:

  • UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Monroeville Imaging at Oxford Drive
  • UPMC Altoona
  • UPMC East 
  • UPMC Horizon - Shenango Valley
  • UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex
  • UPMC Mercy (Uptown Pittsburgh)
  • UPMC Northwest
  • UPMC Outpatient Center–Wexford
  • UPMC Passavant (Cranberry and McCandless)
  • UPMC Presbyterian
  • UPMC Rooney Sports Complex
  • UPMC St. Margaret (Aspinwall)
  • UPMC Shadyside
  • UPMC South Hills