Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Anxious at Your Next MRI

November 21, 2018| Health and Wellbeing /

You’re on a bed in a cold room and you’re heading straight into a machine that looks like a robot donut destined to take over the world. Oh, and you’re not allowed to move…

…Nope, this isn’t the start of a Star Wars movie or a Krispy Kreme ad – you’re about to have an MRI!  Okay, it’s not that bad! It can be pretty daunting though, even if you’ve had one before, but there are some things you and your medical imaging team can do to make it a lot more comfortable.

First up, what actually is an MRI? Basically, it’s a big donut that uses magnetic field and radio waves to take pictures of the inside of your body. You can learn more about it and other types of medical imaging here.

5 Ways to make sure your MRI is worry free

We accept referrals from anyone, so don’t feel you have no choice but to go where your doctor has referred you. You can usually get in within a couple of days too, if not the same day.
— Chris Kokkinos, MRI Supervisor, Epworth HealthCare
  1. Make sure your imaging specialists use the latest equipment
    Some imaging centres have wide and short ball magnets, making it more spacious for you. This really helps to not feel claustrophobic and makes the whole experience a lot more comfortable. The machines also deliver better images quicker than ever before -  Superior images with less time in the machine has got to give you peace of mind. They’re even able to do silent scans at some facilities, so if it’s the noise that scares you there’s nothing to fear there!

  2. Call beforehand to see what your imaging specialist recommends
    Depending on what makes you nervous, there can be lots you and your imaging centre can do to put you at ease. Music is a great distraction and can be extremely calming if you’re feeling anxious, they may have music already there or allow you to bring your own music if you prefer.

  3. Learn more about the MRI experience
    Knowing what’s going to happen can sometimes be all it takes to take the worry out of having a scan, and there are a lot of resources available to fill you in. You can read a good one here.

  4. Go somewhere with highly skilled medical staff who will make you feel comfortable
    From the receptionist through to the nurses and radiographers, there is a lot to know and everyone should be there to make the whole experience easier for you. If everyone is highly trained it will help give you a seamless, comfortable experience.

  5. Remember that you’re in control of your scan
    Some scans take longer than others but you should never be left in silence for too long. You will be told how long each step will take and what to expect during that time, and if at any stage you still feel worried you can always press your alert button and the scan will stop. This can give you a chance to chat to the nurses about what’s worrying you and what you need. With all that music and reassurance, it’s unlikely anyone will need to use it – but it’s another way to help reduce patient anxiety and put you in control.   

You’re in safe hands with senior staff who take the time to listen to your concerns. You’ll have constant communication, even before your scan, so they’ll know what worries you before you arrive and can talk you through the process of having an MRI scan.
— Chris Kokkinos, MRI Supervisor, Epworth HealthCare


Sarah Stanley

Contributor

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