Although an MRI is a completely painless and non-invasive procedure, some people are afraid of an MRI because of the confined space involved in this test. If you suffer from claustrophobia, you may want to look into a stand up MRI instead of the traditional option. Here’s what you need to know.
When you talk to patients who have had trouble with traditional MRIs because of their claustrophobia, many of them report that they feel much more comfortable in an open upright or stand up MRI. For instance, one patient says that she can barely last three minutes in a traditional MRI, but she can easily cope with the experience in the upright alternative.
What to Expect With a Stand Up MRI
In spite of the name, you don’t necessarily stand up for this imaging. You may sit or lean, and if you have back pain, the imaging technician may have you get into the position where you are experiencing the most pain. The machine essentially looks as if a traditional MRI has been lifted onto its side and had one side removed. In terms of size, it’s similar to sitting in a retail changing room with the door open.
Alternatives to a Stand Up MRI
If you’re in an area without a stand up MRI, you may want to consider alternatives. Some patients are able to get through the process by taking an anti anxiety medication — talk with your doctor to see if that’s an option for you. Others are helped by music or mediation.
Additionally, you may want to look for an imaging clinic that has relatively new MRI equipment. While older machines tend to be tight, newer MRIs have more ventilation, more headroom, and better lighting. If you haven’t had an MRI lately, you may want to contact an imaging facility and ask if you can see their equipment. It may have changed since your last MRI.
But, these changes may not be enough to ameliorate the symptoms of intense claustrophobia. So, again, you may simply want to find a clinic that offers the stand up option, even if that requires traveling to another state.
Finding a Stand Up MRI
Unfortunately, stand up MRIs aren’t a common amenity. They can be hard to find, and many states only have one in the whole area. Hospitals and small clinics that only do a small number of scans in a day often don’t have the resources to invest in a variety of different imaging equipment. So, they may only have a traditional MRI. That’s why patents tend to have the best luck accessing this type of care at places like American Health Imaging that are specifically focused on imaging.
If you need an MRI but the thought of a traditional MRI bothers you due to claustrophobia or for any other reason, we may be able to help. To learn more or set up an appointment, contact us today. At American Health Imaging, we have a stand up MRI and we work with both patients and doctors to ensure they have access to the imaging procedures they need.