MRI imaging is one of the safest and most effective forms of medical diagnostic imaging available to physicians; there's no risk associated with radiation exposure and it provides high-quality images that reveal soft tissues. Unfortunately, many people suffer from anxiety about MRI imaging, usually because of feelings of claustrophobia. If you are worried about your upcoming MRI scan, there are a few steps you can take in order to alleviate your anxiety during the process:
Familiarize Yourself With Modern MRI Technology To Dispel Fears
Much of the anxiety related to MRI imaging has its source in misconceptions people have about the process. When MRI imaging was first developed, MRI machines were much more restrictive than they are now. The bore of the tube was much smaller, so the scanner and the noises it made were much closer to your body than in modern machines. Unfortunately, the old style of machines tends to be what comes to mind when people think about MRI imaging. Modern MRI machines feature a larger bore and a more open design, which reduces feelings of claustrophobia that you may experience; if possible, you should contact the MRI imaging facility and ask to see the machine yourself before the appointment time.
Inform The Technicians About Your Anxiety
Since anxiety about MRI imaging due to claustrophobia or generalized anxiety disorder is so common, technicians are trained to be as supportive as possible during the process. It's important that you inform them of your fears while you are making the appointment so that they understand that they will need to be patient with you. Don't let any potential embarrassment about suffering from MRI imaging anxiety prevent you from informing the technicians of this fact; they have helped people with severe anxiety perform successful MRI scans many times before.
MRI imaging facilities often have a number of aids available in order to help reduce your anxiety. If the type of scan you are undergoing permits it, you can often listen to your favorite music with a pair of headphones. Fresh air can be blown in from outside to reduce feelings of claustrophobia when you are in the MRI unit. The technician will always be available for you to talk to during the procedure via a two-way radio, and you will have the ability to cancel the procedure at any time if you feel too uncomfortable.
Use Relaxation Techniques During The Scan
One of the chief complaints people with anxiety have about MRI imaging is that it takes quite a while; some scans can last for up to forty-five minutes. Since you will be required to lie relatively still during the entirety of the process, you will need to find something to occupy your mind with. Meditation is one popular method of relaxation when you are undergoing MRI scans; some patients choose to focus on their breathing, and others choose to focus on the rhythmic noises that the MRI machine is making while it is performing the scan. Another option, if you are allowed to wear headphones during the scan, is to listen to a guided self-hypnosis session that lasts for the entire duration of the scan.
Contact a medical center like Kenai Peninsula Imaging Center, LLC for more information and assistance.