Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a radiation-free, usually non-invasive way to produce high-quality pictures inside the body from multiple planes. MRI picks up the body’s radiofrequency signals and converts them into three-dimensional images.

The patient is asked a series of questions by the MRI scheduler to ensure he or she is a candidate for MRI, before being directed to lie on a table within a large circular tunnel.

What is an Open MRI?

Crozer-Chester Medical Center offers an open-bore MRI or open MRI, which boasts a bore opening of nearly 2.3 feet in diameter, and has almost 1 foot of free space between a patient’s body and the magnet. The goal of this design is to make patients who may be larger and/or claustrophobic feel more at ease.

The Siemens Espree 1.5T MRI enables a higher level of image quality not possible before in an open MRI.

Tips for Coping with Claustrophobia and Anxiety During an MRI

For most patients the “MRI Fear” is a fairly mild anxiety that can be overcome without too much difficulty. However, if you suffer from claustrophobia an MRI tube is likely the last place you want to be. Such a closed-in space that can trigger a panic attack for people who suffer from the anxiety disorder and that should not be taken lightly.

First, it’s important to remember that an MRI is totally painless. It might be uncomfortable and noisy, but it doesn’t hurt.

An MRI often requires the patient to lie still on her back inside the tube-like MRI machine for as long as 45 minutes while a repetitive banging noise sounds. So no, it isn’t what most people would call “pleasant.”

But it doesn’t hurt you, and it is an invaluable tool for doctors trying to get to the bottom of a health issue.

So avoiding an MRI that a doctor prescribes is a bad idea. If you’re concerned or even downright afraid of having an MRI, here are some things you should know that might help you cope with your trepidation:

  • You can ask questions. One of the best weapons against fear of the unknown is a little knowledge. So don’t be bashful – ask your physician or the staff at the MRI any questions you can think of.
  • Know that you’re not closed off from the world. Although a portion of your body will be inside the MRI machine, you’ll notice that it’s open above your head and below your feet. In other words, you aren’t completely closed in. Additionally, you’ll be in communication with the MRI staff, which can speak to you through headphones and are able to see you at all times.
  • Request an open MRI. Crozer-Chester Medical Center offers an open MRI with a wide diameter tube for larger patients or those with claustrophobia.
  • You can listen to music. Whatever you like; you can even bring your own CD or iPod playlist. They’ll pump it through headphones to you during the procedure.
  • Deep breathing really does help you relax. It slows down your heart rate, and when that happens, you feel calmer. If you’re anxious, breathe in and out slowly. And if that isn’t enough.
  • You can receive a mild sedative. If your anxiety is running high, talk to your doctor about prescribing a sedative. If you do, make sure you arrange to have someone drive you to and from the appointment.
  • The MRI staff is there to help. They want this to go smoothly too, so consider them to be your friendly guide through the procedure.

Remember – knowledge is power, and understanding what will happen during an MRI could make the procedure go more smoothly for many patients.

Schedule Your MRI

To request an appointment at one of our locations, call 1-866-5-CK-XRAY (1-866-525-9729) 24 hours a day, seven days a week or complete our online Request Appointment Form.

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