“I Would Recommend it to Anyone That Suffers with Claustrophobia” – Stephen’s Open Upright MRI experience | AECC Clinical & Rehabilitation Services

“I Would Recommend it to Anyone That Suffers with Claustrophobia” – Stephen’s Open Upright MRI experience

Back Patient Stories - - 3 minute read.
Man sat down ready for an Open Upright MRI scan in Bournemouth

Stephen Bradley recently visited Clinical and Rehabilitation Services at AECC University College for a scan in our Open Upright MRI scanner.

Stephen had previously been diagnosed with prostate cancer and also suffers with a knee condition. Both consultants needed Stephen to have an MRI scan, although with his claustrophobia, it was too difficult for him to get this done on a traditional (enclosed) scanner.

He tells us more about his experience:

“I got diagnosed with prostate cancer a while back. The consultant said I might need an MRI scan, although I didn’t want to have one done at the traditional scanner at the Isle of Wight.”

“I had tried it a couple of years ago and it was very difficult with my claustrophobia, as I had to lay flat on the machine. I just freaked. It was a horrible feeling. They scanned up to my knees, but then I had to stop. I was really embarrassed and felt guilty for wasting for the staff’s time as well as NHS time.

“So I started to look into open scanners. I also suffer with a condition in my knees called STILLS disease. My knee consultant also said that I needed an MRI scan. He said that they could arrange to get it done at the AECC UC.”

“I had already researched the open scanner at the AECC UC in case I needed it for my prostate cancer, so I was happy to go ahead. So the knee consultant set it up for me. I received the invite to attend the MRI scan at AECC UC a couple of days later. There were appointments available within a week.”

Getting ready for my MRI Scan

“Before I arrived for my MRI scan, I felt scared and nervous. Fortunately, my son came with me and kept me chatting whilst I was driving. Even though I’d seen pictures of the Open Upright MRI Scanner on the AECC UC website, it’s a very different experience to seeing it in reality. I told the ladies looking after me at the AECC UC about my claustrophobia. They already knew of my situation and couldn’t have been sweeter or more understanding, which really helped. The ladies were absolute diamonds.”

During the Scan

“On the day of the MRI scan, when I walked into the room, I was surprised by the enormous size of the room. It was much bigger than the room at the Isle of Wight. I was very apprehensive. My mouth clammed up, but the team got me a glass of water.”

“The team explained that the process would take around 25 minutes, which would be done in 4 ½ minute slots, and if at any time I needed to stop, to let them know. They said “Let’s just try it!” The team checked in on me before each 4 1/2 minute slot and said they would start the next one in 30 seconds. I hummed music to myself throughout the whole time! If, after 4 1/2 minutes, you don’t feel comfortable, you have the option to stop if you need to. The only thing I regret is not opening my eyes – I had them closed the whole time.

“During the 25 mins, although I was apprehensive, I didn’t feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic at all. I could move my arms about, so the freedom of movement was a relief. It was a very different experience to the scan on the Isle of Wight scanner, where I was totally locked in, couldn’t move and it was much noisier, too. I did feel a lot more at ease at Bournemouth. Nothing was too much trouble for the team at AECC UC.”

Confidence for the Future

“I may need to have an MRI scan for my prostate cancer in the future. I would still feel a little apprehensive, although I would definitely do it again at the AECC UC. I wouldn’t be going into the unknown the next time around – I would know what to expect.

“If anyone else suffers from claustrophobia and is worried about having an MRI scan, I would urge them to please try the open upright scanner at AECC UC. If you do get there and feel you don’t want to go ahead with it, you don’t have to do it. There’s no pressure. I did come very close to saying ‘no’, although I’m so glad I did try it. I would recommend it to anyone that suffers with claustrophobia like I do.”

Close up shot of man smiling at camera

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