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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 concern 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 two High-Field, truly open MRI options.

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.

True Open 1.2T MRI

Our Open MRIs are open on all sides and allows patients views to the outdoors. They are High-Field magnets (1.2T), which provide patients and physicians the confidence knowing the quality of the exam is not diminished as with other, lesser strength open MRI options.  If you have any questions about our True Open MRI, please click here.


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


Individuals requiring medication for anxiety to successfully complete an MRI should contact their Physician to obtain a prescription PRIOR to their appointment. At MRI of Reston, we recommend Xanax. Your Physician will appropriately determine which medication is best for you. Please follow the instructions given to you and bring any remaining amount of the medication with you to the appointment.

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