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Solutions For Those Prone to MRI Claustrophobia Panic Attacks

Triangle Region / 31 Mar 2022

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by EmergeOrtho
Solutions For Those Prone to MRI Claustrophobia Panic Attacks

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a common diagnostic imaging test that a physician orders to detect abnormalities that might exist in the musculoskeletal system. These scans assist EmergeOrtho––Triangle Region providers in diagnosing a wide range of conditions, from torn knee ligaments to fractures. It’s very important that if your doctor requests you get an MRI scan, that you do so. It helps doctors accurately assess your condition and enables them to treat it most effectively.

Orthopedic doctor guiding patient through MRI machine.

An MRI exam is non-invasive and painless, using radiofrequency waves and a strong magnet to create images of the inside of your body. Because an MRI uses a magnet, there is no exposure to radiation, making the scans very safe.

But what if you happen to suffer from MRI claustrophobia panic attacks due to confined spaces? Our highly trained staff is sensitive to this need and ready to help reduce our patients’ feelings of claustrophobia. We want you to know there are things we can do to help make the process as stress-free as possible for you.

Are There Different Kinds of MRI Machines?

There are two kinds of MRI machines available at our locations in the Triangle Region:

Wide Bore MRI

Those suffering from MRI claustrophobia panic attacks may have less trouble with a wide bore MRI than a completely closed MRI because it has a wider opening. The increased space feels less restrictive.

Open MRI

This type of MRI has a larger scanning area, which is more comfortable for many patients. Rather than being an enclosed capsule, these machines use a magnetic bottom and top. All four sides are open, reducing the risk of panic attacks and claustrophobia drastically. Open MRI claustrophobia happens much less frequently due to these machines being exactly what they sound like—open, but still capable of taking high-resolution internal images of the body.

What Happens During an MRI Procedure?

First, you’ll be taken to a private dressing area in the MRI suite where you will be asked to change into a patient gown. Because the MRI uses powerful magnets, you should not wear anything metal—including metal buttons, jewelry, and zippers.

Then, our technologist will position you on a padded table, which will slide into the scanner. We will make sure that you are not placed in an uncomfortable position.

During the test, none of the equipment will move, nor should you. You may close your eyes or rest. You will hear rhythmic knocking sounds as the scanner works. This is normal. The examination is made up of a series of several short imaging sequences.

The entire exam should take from 30 to 45 minutes. The technologist will control the exam from another room but can see, hear, and talk with you at all times.

If you are experiencing MRI claustrophobia panic attacks, please let one of our skilled and friendly technicians know. We can provide medications to help you relax. However, if you need to take this medication, you will need to have someone drive you home after your exam.

Who should NOT have an MRI scan?

Most patients with joint replacements and other orthopedic hardware may still be scanned. Remember to bring any implant cards you may have to your appointment.

However, if you have any of the following conditions, please let your technician know before your scan:

  • Cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator (ICD)
  • Brain aneurysm clips
  • Ear or eye implants
  • Implanted pumps or devices
  • Implanted neuro or bone stimulator devices
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart valve replacements
  • Other prosthetic devices
  • Metal fragments in the eye
  • Stents or filters
  • Work with metal in your occupation

After the exam, your physician will discuss the results with you during a follow-up appointment.

Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.

EmergeOrtho’s experienced physicians and technologists want to be sure that your visit is as relaxing and comfortable as possible, even if you experience MRI claustrophobia panic attacks. Our compassionate, innovative care will help you get back to the daily activities you enjoy.

Many of our patients are pleased to discover that our diagnostic services have received accreditation from the American College of Radiology, which is recognized nationwide as the gold standard in medical imaging.

Self-schedule an appointment at an EmergeOrtho––Triangle Region location or speak with one of our team members to discuss your options at (919) 220-5255.

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