Blog Post

Getting Through an MRI When You Have Claustrophobia

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was created by technology originally pioneered by Nicholas Tesla, the famed German inventor and source of the name for the popular vehicle. By the 1970s, several physicians had engineered methods to convert these magnetic waves into usable images to tell a deeper story of a patient’s health. 

At Burbank Imaging and Open MRI, Inc in Burbank, California, our team offers top-quality MRIs for caring primary providers who want a more robust diagnostic profile for their patients’ internal tissues and organs. 

As important and useful as they are, however, MRIs come with a known caveat for people suffering from claustrophobia. Read on to learn how we can help put you at ease.

Why do I need an MRI?

MRIs are a unique offering in medical testing that allows your doctor a snapshot of the health of your bodily tissues via a completely noninvasive procedure. Your doctor may suggest an MRI if you’re living with a chronic condition, have had a head injury, or are carrying a fetus with an abnormality. In just a few minutes of scanning your body, an MRI can detect: 

  • Joint injuries and abnormalities
  • Cancers, tumors, and cysts
  • Causes of pelvic pain and other feminine issues
  • Heart problems, and diseases affecting other internal organs
  • Brain and spinal cord issues

MRIs have a host of other diagnostic uses, with more possibilities discovered often. These tests require very little preparation. In fact, all you need is a hospital gown, and to remove any metal jewelry before your procedure. 

While X-rays and CT scans are also field-changing, life-enhancing breakthroughs, what sets MRI testing apart is a lack of potentially harmful radiation, saving you from unnecessary exposure. 

Do I have to go into the tube?

Our medical professionals are here to provide the utmost ease and efficiency in testing, but results can be hampered if the procedure itself puts you ill at ease. If you’re worried about being trapped in a small space for a long time, we have some ideas and some information that should help. 

Both your primary care doctor and your radiologist at Burbank Imaging and Open MRI, Inc are here to talk to you and address any concerns that you may have, including a fear of having the procedure. According to the National Library of Medicine, around 12.5% of the human population lives with this phobia, which disproportionately affects women.  

If you’re having mild anxiety, your providers may be able to talk to you through it. If you would like, you’re allowed to bring a friend or family member to your appointment with you. During the procedure, pay attention to your breathing, and try to keep it deep and steady. Your radiologist may permit you to listen to music, as the procedure can take up to two hours, depending on the reason for your MRI.   

Severe anxiety can be treated with medication if necessary, but if you choose to be sedated for the procedure, you will need to arrange for a ride to and from the facility. It is rare that a person will need to sleep through the procedure, but it is essential that you are comfortable, and that your MRI is clear. 

What can I do instead of going into an MRI scanner?

Burbank Imaging and Open MRI is proud to offer patients Open MRI, another breakthrough innovation for those in need of medical testing. Open MRI drastically reduces the risk of experiencing claustrophobia with a streamlined design created to give you plenty of light, and plenty of space. 

Instead of a deep, dark tube, the Open MRI scanner is wider, larger, and resembles a doughnut, replacing the traditional pipe design. The device itself is a light color, sometimes white, and reflects the light of the room. Patients have a comfortable platform on which to lay as they pass through the machine, with open space at their head and feet. 

Though an Open MRI generally takes about the same amount of time as a traditional MRI, there is more room, quality imaging, and an easy incentive to get the testing done as soon as possible. As mentioned, the scope of MRI testing is expanding, and using the best available technology for a quality patient experience is essential to prepare for the future of MRI testing. 

It’s time for testing.

Burbank Imaging and Open MRI, Inc is happy to assist you with convenient MRI testing in the Burbank area. We are accepting appointments both over the phone and online. Call or book on our website today, and let us help you get answers and protect your health.