What is Claustrophobia?

Claustrophobia is defined as a fear of confined spaces. Individuals suffering from claustrophobia will often report feeling anxiety – ranging from “slightly anxious” to severe panic – when in small spaces. In MRI, the enclosed space is the inside of the scanner (also referred to as the magnet or the bore). Claustrophobia is a serious problem that prevents many people from having a medically necessary exam such as an MRI.

Your MRI Options at MRI of Reston:

Not all MRI scanners are made the same and at MRI of Reston, we offer two unique options for claustrophobic patients.

We are the only facility in the Metro DC region and northern Virginia to offer a high-field, truly open MRI option.

Wide, Short Bore 3T MRI

This system offers a wider opening and a shorter bore (aka “tunnel”). For patients with exams ordered on the lower leg (knee to toes), they are advanced into the scanner feet first. The wider opening and shortened bore allow for most individuals to only advance to their mid-section – thus allowing their chest/head to be out of the scanner. Individuals presenting with mild anxiety have reported increased comfort, less stress with this alternative.

Open 1.2T MRI

Our open MRI is open on all sides and it is our only MRI suite that allows patients views to the outdoors. And because is it a high-field (1.2T), patients and physicians can be confident the quality of the exam is not deteriorated as with other, lesser strength open MRI options.

Depending upon the exam requested and the level of anxiety, our Wide, Short Bore 3T MRI or our Open 1.2T MRI may be the perfect alternative. For those individuals reporting severe panic, medication – in addition to requesting one of our patient friendly options – may be required to relieve or reduce the level of anxiety.

What Medication is Recommended? Where Will You Obtain the Medication?

Individuals requiring medication (“sedation”) to successfully complete an MRI should notify the scheduler when their MRI appointment is scheduled. At MRI of Reston, we recommend Xanax.

Please Note: Individuals requiring sedation for the MRI will be asked to arrive one hour prior to the scheduled appointment and will need a driver.