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Old 09-25-2011, 11:10 PM
LindaT5761 LindaT5761 is offline
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Closed vs open MRI? Standup? Tranquilizers?

What experiences have people had with MRI's? Closed vs. open? Standup MRI? Did you use sedatives? If so, do they make your gait problems worse? Did the earplugs work?

My very first MRI was in July 2010 at a place called "Stand Up MRI". After finding out there's nothing to be afraid of but there's no point in having a TV in front of a machine that noisy (I think ZZ Top and a show about motorcycles were on but I couldn't hear them) the technician rushed in to say "are you ok? you were moving." I suspect I fell asleep. This meant it took longer because they had to retake some of the pictures.

My next one was a lumbar/spinal MRI in October 2010, an old fashioned "lie down" MRI. The "closed" tube. The dr. prescribed 2 mg of Atavan. I couldn't even walk from the waiting room to the tube. My husband and the technician had to help me. I was more or less asleep the whole time.

At the time I had never had an IV of any kind and was very nervous about getting one. (Don't laugh.) I imagined that after awhile they gave me an injection of the contrast fluid, which for some reason didn't worry me as much, as I'd had injections before. Instead of thinking "oh no, i have to get into a scary coffin!" I thought "I think I'll just lie down in this cozy tube." I also think I dreamed that I was Snow White in her glass coffin. My husband, who did not kiss me to wake me up, says he pretty much had to carry, or at least steer me, to and from the bus to get home.

Next they ordered another brain MRI, which I had in January 2011. I told the dr. that 2mg Atavan had been a bit much, so he prescribed 1mg. It didn't do much, except further mess up my already messed up ability to walk. The technician talked me through it, saying "this scan will take ten minutes." and "now another five minutes." This time I knew they used an IV for the contrast. I had imagined (or dreamed) the injection. When it was over, and I took out the earplugs they give you, i realized they really do work. I had been afraid of the noise because I didn't believe those little ear plugs really did anything.

I decided I preferred the tube where falling asleep won't mess up the test.

Now I'm going to have another brain MRI, at NYU MS Center this time, instead of Beth Israel. It's the same type of closed MRI. When making the appointment, I asked to speak to one of the technicians. Seems like it will be the same as what I already experienced. Seems like the only thing the tranquilizer does is give me more difficulty walking than I already have. So I will do without it. After all, I am not claustrophobic. I'm not scared, and if I were, it's 3 months away.
Old 09-26-2011, 06:28 AM
Shallwearpurple Shallwearpurple is offline
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All of mine have been in a closed MRI. The first two were without medication. I was not afraid or agitated in the MRI, but afterward, I was sore for a week.

Second time around, I asked for medication and was given atavan. I took it in the waiting room before going in. It didn't fully go into affect until after the scan was over, but that was when I really needed it for pain. I was able to walk to the car just holding my husband's hand. By the time we got home, he had to hold onto me more and get me to bed.

I would not have another MRI without the medication due to the pain afterward.
Old 09-26-2011, 06:50 AM
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maev maev is offline
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I am having my second brain and spinal MRI with contrast tomorrow. I do not want any meds because I need to drive and function normally and walking is difficult anyway. The MRI will take two hours in a closed tube. It is extremely loud. The IV is a real pain,too.
Old 09-26-2011, 06:51 AM
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SNOOPY SNOOPY is online now
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Hello Linda,

I have never had a problem with closed MRIs, I do not use any medication before shooting the tube and will usually fall asleep in them.

Good luck with your MRI
1985 dx'd RRMS. 5/09/2013:Secondary Progressive without Progression. Never used DMDs. Low EDSS.
Old 09-26-2011, 08:23 AM
Spydre Spydre is offline
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Hi there.

My first MRI's were in open MRI's. They are about half as strong as normal MRI's. With the place I was going to, I didn't have a choice - it was an open MRI or nothing, and I didn't yet know the difference between closed and open.

When I went to my MS specialist, she insisted that I get an MRI at her hospital - it was stronger, and it took thinner slices. So of course, more lesions showed up. But she explained to me that was due to the difference between the grades of MRI that I had. I haven't gone back to the original MRI provider since. I only go to the one at her hospital. I take a muscle relaxer before I go, especially if I'm getting brain and cervical, which takes longer. They put headphones on me. It dulls the noise, and they put it on a radio station that I request. I can't always hear the music, but it helps dull the noise a bit. I also have fallen asleep in the MRI machine. Once I did one of those sleep jerks, and they had to repeat the series that they were on.
Diagnosis: May, 2008
Avonex, Copaxone, Tysabri starting 8/17/11
Old 09-26-2011, 08:29 AM
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NYJenn NYJenn is offline
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To me, there is little difference between a closed or open MRI.

I ask my doctor for Valium before I get one. It helps to keep me calm.
Old 09-26-2011, 09:48 AM
bammaw bammaw is offline
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I have mine done (getting another tomorrow) and they have to sedate me even though I request the open MRI machine. Claustrophobia is an issue but the greater issue for me is....sometimes I have a little problem with my swallow reflex and to prevent having a bit of a "panic" attack I just sip a little water or some liquid that "triggers" the response and then I'm fine. Problem in the MRI is my fear I'll need to swallow...won't be able to...then have a "panic". It's important to have these tests so I figure....let's avoid any problems and just basically "knock me out"...well almost.

That's my story.

Eph 3:20-21
Old 09-26-2011, 10:10 AM
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Scooter24 Scooter24 is offline
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The only problem I ever have with them is as soon as they start I get a terrible itch on my nose everytime, it always seems to go away as soon as the tech says this is the last one and will be done in 5 minutes.
Plan for the future, but not too hard; itís not your decision anyway
Old 09-26-2011, 10:34 AM
asiel1 asiel1 is offline
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I have been told that open MRI's are not as effective for finding lesions as closed MRI's. My last two were open and closed and no new lesions were found.

I am having one on the 4th of October and it will be a T-3 and from the looks of things take a very long time. Oh well. I just have to suck it up. I am tired of being in limbo land but not being able to walk.-- and having no explanation for it.

good luck.

Old 09-26-2011, 11:47 AM
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Toomnyhats Toomnyhats is offline
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Mine have been closed. Like others, I have been told open is not as accurate or detailed.

And, yes, I get drugs. I'm not going into a little metal tube w/o happy pills! So far I have been given lorazipam but it is too strong for the situation. I end up sleeping 8+ hrs after the test.
Dx 10/2008
Beta Babe 12/2008-07/2013
Tecfidera 07/2013-present
Old 09-27-2011, 10:34 AM
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KyleW KyleW is offline
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Originally Posted by Scooter24 View Post
The only problem I ever have with them is as soon as they start I get a terrible itch on my nose everytime, it always seems to go away as soon as the tech says this is the last one and will be done in 5 minutes.
You could bet money on it! Every freakin' time
At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals. Dave Barry
Old 09-27-2011, 11:41 AM
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4boysmom 4boysmom is offline
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I find MRIs very relaxing. I know, I'm weird.
Adversity gives you two choices in life: either let it make you bitter, or let it make you better! I choose the latter.
Old 09-27-2011, 01:05 PM
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maev maev is offline
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I just had an MRI. 3 hours in that thing! Can some one explain to me why a brain and spine MRI must be done together?
Old 09-28-2011, 12:59 PM
dmcmtk dmcmtk is offline
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maev, that is a very logical and intelligent question! My next MRI will be brain and c-spine with and without contrast. So far I've had open MRIs, but I would like the next one to be closed. As others have posted the closed MRI produces more detailed results, and also seems from what I've gleaned from the oyher posts to take longer.

As long as your bloodwork is current re bun-creatine level, it seems the MRIs could be spread apart. Anyway, thanks for kicking my brain into gear - good questions for my neuro on my Nov 1 appointment! Dave
Old 09-28-2011, 02:29 PM
opiegirl opiegirl is offline
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Don't waste your money on an open MRI. The quality and clarity does not compare to closed ones and they are not THAT open.

I had an open MRI last Nov. of my brain and Cspine, it turned out I had three herniated discs I didn't know about. I knew my neck hurt ALL THE TIME, but didn't know why.

I went to an orthopedic and they said the MRI quality was so poor they had me to another one on their high powered closed machine.

I've never taken any meds for an MRI, I just lay back and relax, usually fall asleep at some point.
Opiegirl, Dx 1991
Have never used DMD's.

LDN 9/2011-9/2012 & just started again 6/14
Estriol 9/12-present
Still Hopeful.

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