We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible for your exam. In most situations, we may provide you with a leg cushion that provides back support, a warm blanket, and even prism glasses that will allow you to see the room outside the bore of the magnet (toward your feet). The scanner also has proper ventilation and lighting that may help you feel more comfortable.

Unlike X-rays, which use ionizing radiation, MRI uses non-ionizing approach to image the anatomy of the body. The type of non-ionizing energy is called radio-frequency (RF) waves. Unlike X-rays, RF waves do not break strands of DNA. This is one reason why MRI is a safer alternative as opposed to X-rays, and is a modality of choice for pregnant and pediatric patients

MRI technologist will give you a “call ball” to hold for the duration of your exam. The “call ball” will allow you to have constant communication with the MRI technologist. If the ball is squeezed, it will alert the technologist that you want to stop the exam for a moment and come out of the scanner. This will allow you to discuss some concerns you have with your technologist; such as deciding whether or not you want to complete the exam.
If you are having second thoughts about the exam, the technologist will discuss with you some of your alternative options.

The technologist will always maintain visual contact with you. Even though the door between the MRI scanner and MRI technologist workstation must be closed. Each MRI room has a large glass window that allows the MRI technologist to always maintain visual contact.

Please Ask Questions. Be sure to ask your MRI technologist the questions you might have about your exam. Informing yourself of your MRI exam will hopefully offer more ease of mind since you will be aware of the entire procedure.

If you are suffering from claustrophobia, tell your Doctor before scheduling your MRI appointment.  

Claustrophobia is a condition of persistent, and excessive fear of enclosed or small spaces. In such people, exposure to an enclosed or small space such as that found in MR systems, Often provokes an immediate anxiety response that, in its most extreme form, is indistinguishable from the panic attack described above.
Some researchers claim that as many as 20% of the people attempting to undergo MR procedures can’t complete the exams due to serious distress such as claustrophobia.

One way to combat with your claustrophobia is by doing mind exercises.

Try to determine what triggers your anxiety and attempt to block that out of your mind. Use self-talk to talk yourself out of the situation, e.g., “I’m going to get through this, this feeling will pass shortly”.

Think about what is on the outside. The MRI technologist always keeps an eye on you so that you are not by yourself. The technologist is on the other side of the window setting up your exam. Even though it may seem as though your are in a confined space, your MRI takes place in a large room.

Another way to help with your claustrophobia is by using breathing techniques. Although you may believe that taking deep breaths will help, this will actually make it even worse. Instead, take slow breaths.

Having a support system may also help you get through your exam. In most cases, a family member or friend may enter the MRI room with you and stay with you throughout your exam. If the situation allows, they may even hold your hand or pat you on the knees so that you know that they are there with you.

If none of these help you get through your exam, you may speak to your doctor so that they can provide you with medication. Often times, the medication will help you calm down enough to get through the exam. It is important, however, to be accompanied by someone so that they can drive you home since the medication may cause dizziness.

If you attempted to have your MRI with medication and you are still unable to complete the exam, the final option would be to undergo the exam with general anesthesia.

Helpful Tips

•         Mind Exercise
•         Breathing Exercise
•         Family Support
•         Pre-medication
•         General Anesthesia (as a last resort)