Medical Q&As

MRI scan and claustrophobia?

Could you please advise me about having an MRI scan even though I suffer from claustrophobia? I have already had one unsuccessful attempt at having this procedure carried out.

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and it is one of the greatest advances in imaging technology for many years. The scanner produces high quality images that often cannot be obtained by any other means. It is a very useful and informative technique, which I hope will be able to clarify the diagnosis in your case. A significant number of people experience anxiety while undergoing the investigation because of the claustrophobic feelings they experience while surrounded by the scanner. I note that you have already had to abandon one attempted scan. I think it entirely reasonable that you mention this difficulty to your GP and he could prescribe a sleeping tablet for you to be taken on the night before the examination. He could also prescribe a mild sedative for you to be taken about one hour before the examination. It is also advisable that you donít drive to the hospital having taken this medication. Ask a friend or relative to take you to the hospital. You might also like to bring a tape or CD of some relaxing music because most imaging departments have a sound system for playing such recordings. The music is played through speakers in the room because you cannot wear headphones while undergoing the MRI scan.