Many patients – up to one fifth, in one study – even refuse to get into the MRI tube due to claustrophobic anxiety.
So what do you do if you’re too anxious to have an MRI scan? You can’t just forgo the scan – the results are essential to your health.
In many cases, claustrophobic patients are recommended a form of sedative in order to get them through the scan. A sedative is a type of medication that reduces anxiety, but still keeps the individual alert enough to respond to verbal communications and follow instructions.
Generally, claustrophobic patients are prescribed mild or moderate MRI sedatives. Moderate sedation is typically done through an intravenous (IV) catheter.
In some more extreme cases, or for children or infants having an MRI, the patient might be administered a general aesthetic in order to help them remain still.
The alternative to being sedated for an MRI scan is to undergo a scan in an open machine, like Newcastle Clinic’s open MRI scanner.Our patients rarely feel the need for a sedative for their open MRI scan. The machine has no walls or enclosed tube, unlike a traditional scanner, and offers a space twice the size of a regular MRI scanner. An open scan doesn’t evoke the feelings of claustrophobia usually associated with an MRI.Newcastle Clinic’s quieter, open scanner gives even highly claustrophobic patients confidence to succeed. Our supportive staff have seen numerous patients who had previously backed out of a traditional scan even with a sedative, but were able to complete the scan in the open machine.
If a patient is severely claustrophobic and finds that they need a sedative even in the open scanner, they can request medication from their GP prior to their appointment at Newcastle Clinic.
It’s important to remember that if you have experienced a panic attack during an MRI scan in the past, or experience claustrophobic fears that prevent you from undergoing a typical MRI scan, it is no reason to be ashamed. Newcastle Clinic serve thousands of patients each year from the North East of England, Cumbria and Scotland who cannot have a traditional MRI scan, even with a sedative.
That is why Newcastle Clinic offers comfortable, non-claustrophobic scans at our clinic in Jesmond. Contact us to learn how to get a referral to our open scanner.