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MRI scan

(57 Posts)
grannyrebel7 Fri 14-Feb-20 22:18:56

Hi I'm due to have a brain MRI scan soon and am a bit nervous about it. This is to determine what causes me to have trigeminal neuralgia. This extremely painful condition is controlled by medication at the moment thankfully. However there is an operation I could have to correct it if they find what causes it. Just wondering if any GNers out there have had an MRI on the brain and what it was like.

Welshwife Fri 14-Feb-20 22:24:38

I had one about four years ago - it was fine - I was in one of the long machines rather than a donut type, they put music on and gave me a button the pressif I wanted to come out. The doctor doing the scan could speak to me and a couple of times he asked me to raise my hand if I was still OK. I just lay there and closed my eyes. It did not seem very long to me.

Anoia Fri 14-Feb-20 22:30:39

Hi, I’ve had various MRI scans, keep your eyes closed, try to stay still, wear the music headphones if offered, it’s very noisy in short bursts but soon over. You have an alarm to hold if you get worried. They talk you through it all the time, you’ll be OK.

Ellianne Fri 14-Feb-20 22:41:22

Are you having a contrast agent?

suziewoozie Fri 14-Feb-20 23:06:49

I had one last year. I found it truly awful and would have some sort of sedative if it ever happens again. I have since found out that there is another more upto date type now where you are not so enclosed. It might be worth asking what type your hospital has

suziewoozie Fri 14-Feb-20 23:08:11

It’s called a flat bed open MRI.

BlueSky Fri 14-Feb-20 23:13:35

Grannyrebel I had one last year and was on here asking the same question as you! It's totally bearable, you are in the scan only up to chest level, it's light inside and you can also see at the end of the tube. There's easy listening music even if there are short burst of noise. I also had contrast which I was dreading, in fact it's just an injection given towards the end, just felt slightly flushed for a couple of minutes and that was it. Soon after they come in and tell you it's all done. It took about half an hour. You have a panic button in your hand the whole time. The anticipation was much worse! Good luck!

gillybob Fri 14-Feb-20 23:17:18

I’ve had a few MRI’s over the years as I have MS .

They really aren’t as bad as you think . My local hospital doesn’t offer headphones and music but the bigger city I go to hospital does and it makes a difference as the music kind of distracts you a bit . As others have said they usually give you a button to press if you need to be out or just need some reassurance . Both places I have had it done the radiographer has spoken to me through a speaker reassuring me and telling me what they are doing.

There is no way on earth I would ask for a sedative when I need to have the next one.

Good luck and try not to get too worked up about it. I promise you it won’t be that bad.

Chestnut Fri 14-Feb-20 23:26:35

It's nothing! Just keep your eyes closed and you'll be fine. I tend to keep eyes closed for anything medical ha ha! I never used to look at what they were doing when I was a blood doner. I close my eyes at the dentist. You can just imagine you're lying on a bed if your eyes are closed. They will tell you everything and look after you.

Marydoll Fri 14-Feb-20 23:35:48

I have had a fair number of them. They are noisy in parts, but it doesn't last long. I do lots of distraction techniques, e.g see how far I can count backwards in a foreign language or visualise a holiday destination I have visited. Never needed a sedative.
One time I was in the MRI machine, when the fire alarm went off. I knew nothing about it, until later, when DH told me there were fireman all over the place. 😱

suziewoozie Sat 15-Feb-20 00:23:39

If you are not in completely, then it must be a very different experience but I have to say that there are others like me who find full body MRIs really awful. It’s good that people on here have techniques for managing but I didn’t. I know of someone who had to have 3 attempts before she could manage to stay in the machine. For the third attempt, a health care professional really listened to her and gave her something (Valium?) and she was fine. If you think you might find it hard, there’s nothing wrong with taking a sedative - it’s not a test of character. Like some people have a fear of flying or lifts or the underground.

suziewoozie Sat 15-Feb-20 00:24:12

And they can last a long time - mine was nearly an hour

grannyrebel7 Sat 15-Feb-20 08:37:50

Thanks for all the advice. I don't know if I'm having a contrast - hadn't heard of it before. If they offer valium I'll definitely have it! It's not until 10 March but I think I'll practice by putting a box over my head until then!!! I'll let you know how it goes.

Hetty58 Sat 15-Feb-20 08:44:08

I've had all sorts of MRIs and I was worried about the 'tube' type as I'm very claustrophobic. They were absolutely fine though. I kept my eyes closed and just relaxed. It can be noisy but I got to choose my music.

Greeneyedgirl Sat 15-Feb-20 08:54:58

I think MRI scanners are improving all the time & some centres offer just upper body scanners and many are faster than they used to be.

It’s not really a scary experience. As others have said close your eyes. I was able to take CD of my own to listen to.

TwiceAsNice Sat 15-Feb-20 09:05:29

Ive only had one . Completely inside and enclosed very low ceiling. The only way I could bear it was to close my eyes and do a breathing technique over and over as I had a panic attack all the time I was in it, I am claustrophobic. I wasn’t offered a sedative and it was the longest time of my life. Hope I never need another. I had it to determine the extent of a spinal stenosis diagnosis

Franbern Sat 15-Feb-20 09:09:14

Few NHS facilities have anything other than the flat bed MRI machines. I have extremely bad claustrophobia - and used to find MRI's an impossibility. Would go into panic mode within seconds of being moved into the machine. Tried keeping eyes closed, deep breathing exercises, etc. to no avail. Last year, when I really needed to have one on my spine, the senior radiologist put me in feet first, but my head still had to be inside.. My GP gave me Diazapan tablet to take - this had to be taken an hour beforehand, but worked liked a miracle. Needed a taxi there and a taxi home, and took the rest of the day for this tablet to wear off, but it meant I was able to go into the machine (eyes closed) quite relaxed. Would always have one if needed another MRI.
Some places tell you to take a CD of your own choice with you. I find that having their large earphones on actually makes me even more panicky - another 'sense' I am being deprived of.
If you dohave an claustrophobic tendencies, then do talk to your GP well beforehand, and it is they who have to prescribe a suitable sedative - no good once you are actually at Radiology. And do let Radiology know your fears and also if you are going to have to take such a sedative - they will probably want you there a lot earlier so you can take that 'in situ'.
I did look up anywhere which had the MRI machines that you can sit up in - and even watch tv, but these were only at expensive private facilities and they were charging around a grand just for a single area of the body to be scanned.
If you are not claustraphobic, then most people have MRI scans without any real problem.

Chestnut Sat 15-Feb-20 09:52:54

You just need to keep those peepers shut and not be tempted to open them even for a second!🙈 As long as they're closed you can imagine open spaces, fields and trees, beaches or whatever.

gillybob Sat 15-Feb-20 09:58:04

Our NHS offers the new type of MRI (via a private hospital) to anyone who is very overweight and would struggle to use the old kind.

JackyB Sat 15-Feb-20 09:59:10

I had one after an accident recently. The contrast solution was injected jist before the end and I was warned it would feel as though I had wet myself so I was glad I had had that warning.

Just relax and try to daydream. Think of nice things.

harrigran Sat 15-Feb-20 10:19:17

I took a disc with me, they offered music but I wanted classical of my choice.
I wore a sleep mask and the headphones.
I had straps over my arms to stop me moving but in a way it was quite good because the bed was very narrow.
I think my procedure took about 40 minutes and did not involve dye injection as I had that done as a CT scan the week before.
The MRI scanner is noisy but if you understand what is happening then you should be okay.

Urmstongran Sat 15-Feb-20 10:25:32

I had an MRI brain scan two years ago for vertigo attacks. I was a bit apprehensive but the scanner was of my head and up to about my chest so I didn’t feel too enclosed and panicky. I took my iPod with some favourite relaxing music. The radiologist was very kind and attentive.

CassieJ Sat 15-Feb-20 10:36:36

I didn't realise how claustrophobic I was until I went for an MRI scan. I couldn't go through with it. I hadn't realised just how close your face is to the machine, totally freaked me out. It's not just a case of closing your eyes, if you are really scared there is no way you can through with it.

If it is just a head MRI it will probably be fine, my was meant to be a whole body one.

If you think that you may need a sedative see your GP beforehand as they won't offer you anything at the scanning appointment.

suziewoozie Sat 15-Feb-20 11:55:10

Cassie On MN someone said her GP gave her a ‘trial’ dose to see if it worked sufficiently and then one to take on the day. Remember though someone would then have to drive for the person.If someone can’t go through with the MRI it’s a very expensive waste of scarce resources which is one reason HCPs are more than happy( usually) to help prepare you,
IMO it’s fine on threads like this to give advice eg close your eyes, but t’s wrong to say it’s not scary or it’s fine you can only say that you didn’t find it scary which is a very different thing.

Bopeep14 Sat 15-Feb-20 14:18:25

I had an brain MRI last year, i am terribly claustrophobic (wont even go in a lift) so was very apprehensive.
I needn't have worried i explained and the staff where great and put me at ease straight away.
I had to have a cage over my head because of the type of scan i needed to keep very still, on the cage was a mirror which i could see out of the scanner.
Music was played through headphones.
I was in there for an hour, half way through i was injected with dye.
I didn't panic the hardest thing for me was keeping really still.
I really wouldn't worry next time, because there will be a next time as they found a brain tumour.
Hope you go on ok.