Q:

How can you have an MRI scan with severe claustrophobia?

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Quick Answer

Several techniques may ease anxiety during an MRI for a patient with claustrophobia, including educating the patient about what to expect during the MRI, allowing a relative or friend to remain with the patient during the MRI, and providing the patient with music, states MRISafety.com. Using sedatives is also beneficial.

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Full Answer

Depending on the area of the body that needs to be scanned, some patients may be placed in the scanner feet-first instead of head-first to reduce feelings of claustrophobia. Fans, bright lights, aroma therapy, relaxation techniques and medical hypnosis may also be used for claustrophobic patients who need to have MRIs, according to MRISafety.com. The technician performing the MRI can typically speak to the patient through speakers inside the scanner, allowing him to monitor how the patient is doing, states the University of California, San Francisco.

MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, utilizes a large magnet, radio frequencies and a computer to generate images of body structures and organs, allowing doctors to diagnose medical problems, explains the University of California, San Francisco. Patients are not exposed to radiation during an MRI. Because of the powerful magnet inside the MRI scanner, patients are required to complete a form prior to undergoing an MRI to screen them for any metallic objects inside their body that may pose a problem during the scan.

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