MRI and Claustrophobia – dispelling some myths
Most people arrive for their MRI scans with some feeling of apprehension, it’s very common and completely normal. It could be that they are worried about what the scan may show, or it might be that their friends and family have told them that the MRI experience is really awful; it could be both!
The vast majority of patients are reassured fairly soon once we talk them through the procedure and discuss all of the different coping mechanisms that we can use to make the whole experience less daunting. We can usually dispel a lot of the ‘myths’ surrounding MRI that well-meaning acquaintances may have delighted in telling you (who doesn’t like to make life experiences sound a little more dramatic than they actually are?!).
So first of all, the best thing that a patient can do is talk to us! Tell us early on (as soon as you have been referred for MRI) that you are worried. We can discuss your specific concerns on the telephone and we can then advise on the best coping mechanisms. You can even arrange to come and view the scanner before you commit to making your appointment so that you know exactly what to expect.
Did you know?
• The scanner is open at both ends and you are most certainly not ‘shut in’ to it.
• The scanner itself is well lit so unless you request the lights to be dimmed you will not be in the dark.
• Some scans allow us to scan you feet first.
• Some scans allow us to play you music.
• You are in control and we will never make you do something you don’t feel able to do.
• You can stop the scan if you wish to.
• We can talk to you during the scan and give you time updates to help you focus.
• You can bring somebody with you and if you really need extra support they can accompany you into the scan room and stay with you (provided they have cleared the MRI safety checks).
The most important thing is to not worry – communicate with us early and we can hopefully alleviate most fears; at the very least we can give you all the information you need about your particular scan so that you can fully prepare yourself and we can arrange for any special assistance that you may enquire ahead of time to make your scan as easy and stress-free as possible.