Q & A — MRI Concerns From a Patient with Claustrophobia
Q: My doctor wants me to go for an MRI of my neck and upper back, but I suffer from claustrophobia. The thought of being in a small space like that just terrorizes me. I know I need to get the MRI, but I haven’t been able to make myself call for an appointment because of my anxiety. Can you suggest anything to help?
A: Yes. First of all, know that you are not alone. Many people suffer from claustrophobia or other disorders that make it difficult for them to consider getting an MRI scan (which involves lying on a table in a tube-like device and staying still for a period of time). At Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, we use MRI units with wide openings and short bore designs in order to minimize claustrophobia and increase comfort.
Some people (particularly those with claustrophobia, those who are severely anxious or in pain, and children) sometimes have trouble staying still for an MRI exam. For these patients, Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology offers MRI with I.V. sedation. A sedative will be administered intravenously by a board certified anesthesiologist. You will be monitored before, during, and after the MRI exam by both the anesthesiologist and a nurse. The sedative will calm you, enable you to lie still, and make the MRI process much easier and more relaxing. I.V. sedation is safe and effective, and there are no lasting effects.You will, however, need to have someone with you to drive you home.
Tell your physician about your claustrophobia and ask him or her to specify on the prescription, “MRI with I.V. sedation.” Let the Zwanger-Pesiri team make your MRI as pleasant and non-stressful as possible.
Do you have a question about MRI or any other topic regarding radiology? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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