Claustrophobia and MRI


As you can imagine, most sufferers of claustrophobia find the closed in sensation of a conventional tunnel MRI scanner extremely difficult to tolerate. For a claustrophobic individual, having to lie still in a confined space for a long time, feeling trapped and not being able to see out is a highly stressful experience – and for many it is simply impossible to complete.

Upright MRI scanners are designed with the claustrophobic patient in mind. You can walk into our scanners and, depending on which part of you is being scanned; you sit, lie slightly backward, lie horizontally or even stand in some cases. At all times, you will be able to see around you, see the radiographers who are performing the scan, and you can even watch TV or a DVD. At no point will there be anything in front of you, and when the scan is finished you simply walk out. Our radiographers are very experienced in dealing with claustrophobic and anxious patients, and will take their time to ensure that you are completely comfortable and relaxed.

Many claustrophobic individuals say that it is ‘fear of the unknown’ which causes them to hesitate – which is why we invite all of our patients to visit our centres and see our scanners in person before their appointment if they so wish. If a patient is unable to visit us beforehand, we will talk them through the entire process over the phone, and we will even send them photos of the exact position they will be in for their scan.

To date, we have successfully scanned almost every claustrophobic patient who has come to us because they have previously been unable to tolerate a conventional tunnel scanner. If you are claustrophobic and would like any further information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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