MRI appointment


My appointment has come through for the 27th March and is for head, cervical and thoracic spine. I am so claustrophobic and just wondered approximately how long I will be in there for?

Ive already had an MRI of my cervical spine and I think it was the cage on my head that made it worse, I just felt trapped. I know it has to be done, would rather not be sedated and coped last time by counting my rather fast heartbeat lol.



I have had two MRIs one for my gallbladder which was on an old machine, it was a bit unnerving, I just closed my eyes, the second one was for my head, it went fine, the machine was very new. As yet I am waiting for another MRI appointment but as it’s getting near my appointment with the neurologist I don’t think that I am having it. I can’t remember if I had anything on my head, I know for my gallbladder I didn’t. I do wonder if they will book a spinal MRI. I have had a cat scan and a pet scan those are like big doughnuts. It’s very much like an MRI. I think you get worked up before you go in and it’s not as bad when you in the doughnut. Very noisy. Kay

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Hi Louise

When I had my optic nerve and brain MRI last month the radiographer told me it would be about 45 minutes. It honestly didn’t feel like it lasted that long and I felt it went much quicker. I’ve been back today for an MRI on my cervical spinal cord and I think it took about 20 minutes (I forgot to ask when I went in and had already taken my watch off).

I’d guess that you might be about 45 minutes / 1 hour but it’s really hard to say and I’m certainly no expert. When you go, speak with the radiographer first. It’s ok to be nervous and I’d imagine the majority of patients usually are. My experience of MRI radiographers has been really positive and they have always spoken to me throughout. Remember that you’ve done it before and you can do it again. You probably know a bit more of what to expect this time so it might feel a bit easier when you get there. I know it’s not the most enjoyable experience but I tend to think about how amazingly cleaver it is. All the buzzing is creating a picture of inside my body and it’s completely painless. It’s another piece of the jigsaw which helps the neurologist make the right diagnosis. I’m not claustrophobic but I can understand why many feel anxious about the scan. Try to think of the cage / padding as something positive, e.g it’s not there to trap you, it’s a tool to help you keep still so they can get the best possible image which in turn is going to help you. I also find closing my eyes and concentrating on my breathing helps to keep me the most still. Remember your not trapped, there is a way out of the machine and the entrance and exit is still there, it’s not sealed up. I think some people do request for sedatives which you can consider if you feel that would assist. You could also try natural rescue remedy from the chemist which is really good.

Apologies if none of the above is of any help, I’m not really sure what else to suggest to help with your experience.

wishing you all the best for your scan and getting answers.


Hello Louise

Time is different when you’re inside an MRI machine. It both slows down - so you feel like it’s taking a lifetime, and speeds up. I have had a lot of MRI scans and now find the noise a bit hypnotic. I virtually fall asleep (I actually have done a couple of times!)

The advice from Befuddled is excellent. Try to keep calm, counting is good, or writing a mental shopping list. I tend to close my eyes too. You always have a rubber ball to hold, if you begin to panic, you can press the bulb and the radiographers will talk to you. They tend to ask regularly if you’re OK anyway.

If they don’t give you one automatically, ask for a wedge to go under your knees. It is more comfortable and helps you to stay still.

Make sure you don’t have any metal on you, including bra straps and underwiring. Wear warm comfy clothes, especially socks. It can get nippy. Think about the fact that they may want to use contrast dye, this means they pull you out midway through and inject you with the dye into a cannula that they’ll put in beforehand. The contrast helps the radiographer and neurologist see enhanced detail and any current inflammation. But you need to be wearing something that can be shoved up above your elbow because of the cannula.

Try not to worry too much, tell the radiography staff that you are nervous and claustrophobic. They’ll understand and will try to keep you comfortable and relaxed.


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Thank you so much for your replies and advice. Reading what you have all put has made me rationalise with it a bit more and I will definitely take on board your suggestions. Im not scared of the noise, its just knowing I cant get out, even though I wont try to get out lol. Daft I know

I was spoilt with my last MRI as it was at a private hospital via the NHS. Apparently it was a newer machine with an extra 3 inches of space. This one is at Salford Royal, it actually says mobile MR mobile scanner, which made me think it was one of those on the back of a lorry but it says to go to the MR scan dept within the hospital so I dont really know.

Im going to look at the positive, in that my journey so far has been very quick and I am very grateful for that.

Thanks again, you are all so helpful.

Louise x

Hi Louise

I to am under the excellent care of Salford Royal. My last scan in January was in the mobile scanner, I had to check in at the MR reception inside, somebody then came to get me and took me to the mobile unit, at this point I did wonder where I was going!

The mobile unit was outside but once inside you really wouldn’t know, the same excellent care received. The radiologist spoke to me throughout and I was made to feel comfortable throughout the scan. As I have an appointment with neuro on 5th April I did ask how long results are taking and they said about 8 weeks.

Don’t worry to much a scan is a scan and if it reduces waiting times then thats much better than this limbo we all feel. I am expecting a diagnosis in April following numerous tests which all point to MS, I think it will be a relief.

I also feel very lucky to be under the care of Salford Royal, my nurse has been excellent,its obviously not a place any of us want to find ourselves but after reading on here about very long waits and different approaches I am happy to be a mancunian.

Sorry for the ramble but I hope it helps.

Mel x


Hi Louise, I had my mri scan for head, cervical and thoracic spine last month. I too am claustrophobic and was dreading it. I found keeping my eyes closed and focusing on my breathing helped. They had headphones with music and I chose the sound of music soundtrack haha. Closed my eyes and listened to that along with the noises of the machine and in all honesty when I came out at the end I felt soo relaxed. Almost didn’t want it to end! I was in for 45 minutes total but it didn’t feel that long.

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Thanks Mel,

They are fantastic arent they, we are very lucky to have such a good hospital near by.

Wishing you all the best, good luck with your results

Louise x

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Hi Suziee,

Thank you, 45 mins is better than the hour I expected Ooooh I hope I get some music too, last time it was ear plugs and the dreaded cage lol.

Good Luck with your results

Thanks again


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