UW Health's Wide-bore Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

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Contact Information

Outpatient exams: (608)287-2050.

Report Questions: (608) 287-3063

A New Option for Bariatric and Claustrophobic Patients


A Magnetic Resonance (MR) exam is a noninvasive test that can be one of the first steps to treat patients. Until now, this exam was not an option for some patients because they were too large to fit into the conventional scanner or were not able to complete the exam due to claustrophobia.


The University of Wisconsin Department of Radiology has installed the latest in the line of premier MR scanners: the wide-bore GE Optima MR450w scanner, at the UW Health 1 South Park Clinic's Outpatient Imaging Center. The newly released, "open" scanner has a 70-centimeter opening and is shorter in length than conventional scanners. The spacious design helps to alleviate feelings of claustrophobia and anxiety, which are not uncommon in conventional MRI scanners.


In most exams, patients will enter the bore feet first, rather than head first. Because the scanner is shorter, many studies can be performed with the patient's head outside the scanner. This enables a stress-free experience for the patient, which avoids the need for sedation.


The scanner is excellent for imaging of pediatric patients. The open-bore allows the patient to maintain eye contact with a parent standing beside the scanner and permits easier communication during the scan. In appropriately selected cases, this will enable imaging without sedation.


Scanned images of the shoulder
The images were acquired in an eight-channel dedicated shoulder coil, which provides superior signal and image resolution for diagnosis of labral and cartilage pathology.

The wide-bore scanner can comfortably accommodate nearly all patients while providing exceptional imaging quality and level of detail. Under the care of fellowship-trained UW Health radiologists and state-of-the-art technology, patients are guaranteed the highest quality medial imaging and diagnostic service.

Benefits to Patients

  1. Less anxiety: The larger "open" feel helps alleviate feelings of claustrophobia, fear and anxiousness.
  2. More comfortable: The wide-bore scanner is built to accommodate larger patients (up to 500 pounds) who may otherwise be denied diagnostic imaging.
  3. Faster and quieter scan: Advanced MRI technology facilitates high quality imaging in a shorter time with less noise. The less time patients are laying on an imaging table, the more likely they are to remain still and cooperate with breathing instructions-another key to imaging success.
  4. Greater accessibility: The installation of the new GE 450w will be matched by the installation of a regular bore 1.5T Twin-speed GE MRI scanner, thus permitting quick access to MRI appointments. These new 1.5 T scanners will be complemented by the 3.0T GE MR 750 MRI scanner at the UW Health Research Park Clinic.
  5. Exceptional imaging: The greater comfort and openness of the GE 450w does not sacrifice any of the imaging capability of conventional 1.5T MRI scanners. Conversely, many of the in-built technological advances coupled with futuristic coil design allow superior quality imaging.

Appropriate Candidates and Applications

  • Patients with claustrophobia, not requiring moderate conscious sedation
  • Bariatric patients
  • Pediatric patients
  • Breast magnetic resonance exam
  • MR-guided biopsies
  • Two-station whole spine imaging
  • Enhanced MRA applications
  • Enhanced abdominal and pelvic studies
  • Musculoskeletal imaging
  • Neurological imaging

Patient Satisfaction and Referrals


With the speed and improved accuracy of images, this state-of-the-art technology will directly impact patient experience and satisfaction. We sincerely appreciate your referrals.