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Is Claustrophobia (Fear Of Confined Spaces) Real?
The simple answer is yes.
The most common experience of claustrophobia is a feeling or fear of losing control. Your heart begins to beat faster, your senses are heightened and if uncontrolled a real fear of panic is experienced.
Although most people have no problem being in a confined space, there are a significant number who – in addition to the stress of a medical exam – just can’t endure the “older technology” MRI. They describe it as an awful experience of being squeezed into a small dark tube and a sometimes uncontrollable urge to run away.
In a study involving an MRI diagnosis and claustrophobia, up to 20% of patients receiving an MRI reported having a panic attack during their procedure in the older technology “closed” MRI.
Some individuals just avoid being scanned at all, which significantly reduces their doctor’s ability to provide the best care.
“Open” MRI scanners were developed in part to address this issue.
As advancements have been made in MRI technology reading radiologists report that open MRI equipment is just as effective of a diagnostic tool as the “older technology” MRI using a confining tube.
“Sit-down, stand-up” MRIs are the ultimate in MRI, as most patients can sit or stand (depending upon your doctor’s prescription) and relax while watching TV. Your loved one can also be with you to ensure that it is a pleasant experience for you.
And in many cases it’s the only MRI that can most effectively visualize issues with your back, neck or knees due to the force of gravity while in a sitting or standing position.
Even if claustrophobia is not a problem for you, there’s no reason to submit to being squeezed into a confined, uncomfortable space when other options are available.
In most cases, with Open MRI your doctor will have the results the same or next day.
If you suffer from claustrophobia, or just don’t want to be squeezed into a tube, ask your doctor about an open MRI. Why endure the stress when there is a better alternative?