Do you feel anxiety simply at the thought of having an MRI examination performed? You’re not alone. Having to lie down in a narrow tube triggers “claustrophobia” in many patients who undergo MRI examinations.
Those affected often suffer from discomfort, sweating, heart palpitations or panic attacks. The great fear associated with an MRI examination is the thought of having to lie in a narrow, mostly tunnel-shaped magnet for over 30 minutes. For people who suffer from claustrophobia, it’s an endless moment full of mental and physical stress.
There can be some confusion caused as many “Open scanners” are not fully open at all. You would lie between two magnetic poles, often referred to as a “double doughnut” format. The distance between the upper and lower poles vary but are typically only around 38-43 cm.
Your own will power is not enough to overcome the shear panic of lying in an MRI tunnel. Words of encouragement or a detailed explanation of how an MRI works won’t help those affected. In addition, there is the relatively loud ambient noise generated by the device in operation, which also reduces the feeling of well-being. “Close your eyes and hope for the best” is easier said than done.
What else is there? Anxiety therapy that lasts for several weeks? Much too time-consuming. A sedative that will put you out of action for some time or even a risk-free anaesthetic or sedation?
In a conventional Tunnel system you would lie down within a tube or tunnel, where the free diameter inside varies from 55cm to 70cm. You will be completely enclosed and feel the relative narrowness of the tube.