Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique that uses a large magnet and sound waves to form pictures of what’s inside the body. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, electric field gradients, and radio waves to generate images of organs and structures within the body. It is often used to investigate areas such as the brain, spinal cord, heart, blood vessels, breasts, bones and joints, and the liver and prostate gland to reveal damage, swelling, inflammation, and abnormal growths.
Because an MRI involves being inside a tube-like machine, it may trigger claustrophobia in patients. Let’s talk about MRIs and claustrophobia, and what patients with this phobia can do to get their critical MRI screening.
What is Claustrophobia?
Claustrophobia is a fear of enclosed spaces. MRI machines are large, tube-like machines that patients must lie inside during the scanning process. The patient lies on a table, which slides into the machine. A patient with a fear of being in a small, confined space can experience feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, and panic, which are symptoms of claustrophobia.
How Can Patients with Claustrophobia Have an MRI Exam?
Claustrophobia is a fairly common condition. Fortunately, radiologic technicians are highly trained in how to help patients with claustrophobia get through their scans. They are there to ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed for the procedure. Radiologic technicians are great with people. They are active listeners, highly attentive, have a great ability to show compassion, and adapt to changing situations in the exam room very well. These qualities make them ideal for working with individuals with claustrophobia that triggers during an MRI scan.
Patients with claustrophobia should let their doctors know that they suffer from it. Some techniques that can help reduce anxiety include the use of breathing techniques, and sedatives, taking a trusted loved one with you to the appointment, gaining knowledge about how an MRI test is carried out, and familiarizing yourself with the machine and the sounds it makes during a scan. Patients can cover their eyes with an eye mask or a small towel during the exam to help them remain relaxed. Doctors encourage their patients to ask questions before the exam to help with reducing their anxieties. You will be able to communicate with the radiologic technician while inside the machine, who will be talking to you in a calm and reassuring voice.
Finding a compassionate, skilled team of providers can make a really big difference in how you experience an MRI scan. For this reason, make your choice of MRI provider wisely.
MRI Scan in The Bronx, NY
At Starling Diagnostics, our compassionate team of medical professionals has guided many patients with anxiety and claustrophobia through their medical imaging exams. We understand how scared you can be when it comes to matters of health, which is why we strive to provide you with a positive, patient-centric experience. If you suffer from claustrophobia, please let us know, so we can provide you with personalized support and help prepare you for your exam. For any questions or to schedule your MRI scan with us, call our office today at (718) 319-1610 or use our convenient online request form.