Within imaging practices, Magnetic Resonance Imaging exams (MRI) can produce high levels of anxiety and stress to patients both prior to and during scanning. Used as a highly informative diagnostic tool, MRI exams provide some of the most detailed information physicians need to fully understand certain diseases. A benefit worth the temporary discomfort.
The large scale nature of MRI equipment which consists of a moving table surrounded by a donut-shaped magnetic coil, along with the loud noises of the machine and close body to coil proximity can cause many patients to feel claustrophobic during the exam. Most patients are asked a series of questions during their MRI scheduling process that will help identify if they may have tendencies toward claustrophobia, but often times the fear of being within the close confines of the coil doesn’t produce anxiety until the patient is actively having their exam performed.
Patients who can anticipate their level of stress and take proactive actions prior to their scan have the best outcomes- less rescheduling, better image quality, and faster exam time. Here are some of the easiest, most effective ways to calm “scan-xiety” and ensure the best possible outcomes.
1. Understand the equipment.
Before you schedule your MRI exam, do a little research to better understand the different types of MRI equipment that can reduce your stress level. Closed, Open, and Short Bore are a few of the terms you may hear during scheduling. Typically, a closed MRI produces the highest level of claustrophobia due to its tunnel-like nature.