Keep in mind that people talk about MRI and claustrophobia based on what they have heard or experienced in the past. Not all of this is true today. Older MRI machines had narrower tunnels than modern MRI equipment. The older machines were often relatively dark, and the scanner’s ceiling was very close to the face and head.
MRI scanners today have wider openings, are fully lit, ventilated, and open at both ends (above your head and below your feet). These machines greatly improve comfort during the exam.
In some cases, you may be able to listen to music to help you relax during the exam. If you wish, you can be given earplugs or a headset to help block out noise from the scanner. Eye masks are also available at most locations upon request.
The well-trained radiology technicians work very closely with you to help lower anxieties, and they will tell you how long to expect your imaging to actually take. Our technologist will see you and be in contact with you at all times during your exam. Speakers inside the scanner will enable the technologist to communicate with you and hear what you say. You also will have a call button (in the form of a squeeze ball) so that you can let the technologist know if you have any problems relaxing during the procedure.
If you are concerned about how you will tolerate your MRI exam, we suggest talking to your personal medical provider for help in developing a plan or possibly prescribing an oral medication taken to minimize your anxiety. Please notify us if an oral medication will be taken prior to your scan.