What Is The Best Alternative To MRI?

August 30, 2022

If you've avoided getting an MRI because of claustrophobia, you're not alone. About 30% of patients reported anxiety about having to lie still in a confined space for an extended period. Certainly, claustrophobia is a serious issue that keeps many patients from getting a medically necessary MRI scan. This is why people are looking for the best MRI alternative.

You'd be surprised at how many people suffer from claustrophobia - and how their fear of claustrophobia exacerbates once they enter the MRI machine. But don't worry, there are easy ways to tackle the fear of MRI. Before we dive into the best alternative to MRI, let's understand the concept of claustrophobia management and how to overcome the fear of an MRI scan. 

What Is Claustrophobia?

Claustrophobia is a type of situational phobia best described by an irrational and intense fear of small or crowded spaces. Claustrophobia can be triggered by factors such as:

• being confined to a room with no windows

• being stuck in a crowded elevator

• being accidentally stuck in a small space, such as a closet

Claustrophobia during MRI Scan

When someone needs an MRI, they often become anxious about the procedure, fearing that they will become claustrophobic inside the machine. 

Knowledge is one of your most powerful tools when it comes to anxiety and MRI Claustrophobia.

You should also be aware that some of the MRI-claustrophobia-related stories you may have heard are likely no longer true. Modern MRI machines are not enclosed, dark tunnels. They are well-lit, open on both sides of the tunnel, and wider than they were previously.

Ways To Reduce Claustrophobia During MRI Scan

Many people who suffer from claustrophobia will avoid places that trigger their symptoms. However, this may not be a long-term solution because you may eventually find yourself in a frightening but unavoidable situation. Here are some steps to reduce Claustrophobia during an MRI scan:

1. Ask Questions In Advance

The more educated and informed you are about the test's specifics, the less likely you will be surprised by something. Let your doctor know about your claustrophobic condition. Later ask him to explain the entire MRI procedure so you know exactly what to expect. It does you no good if you don't speak up, so if you have any concerns, let your doctor know. 

2. Listen To Soothing Music

Nowadays, most setups include MRI-compatible headphones for music. MRI tests are extremely loud, and the sound alone can be physically jarring. If you are claustrophobic, you will find it difficult to cope with the confined feeling. You can distract your mind from the fact that you are in a small space by listening to soothing music.

3. Cover Your Eyes

Don't look, whether you keep your eyes closed or wear an eye mask. Put on some music and cover it or close your eyes before entering the machine. Try to unwind or, better yet, sleep. You can keep your mind from roaming with irrational thoughts if you can keep your eyes from seeing the confined space you are in.

4. Stretching Of Muscles

During the MRI, you must remain as still as possible, which can be difficult for some people. While in the MRI, the desire to stretch or adjust your position can be overwhelming. Stretch your muscles and limbs to avoid this and be as comfortable as possible while in the machine.

5. Trust

Trust between the technologist and the patient is essential for any diagnostic, as it allows the doctor to assist in comforting claustrophobia during the MRI. These factors will not eliminate the ultimate fear experienced by those who are completely claustrophobic, but they are a series of recommendations that may greatly alleviate the claustrophobia fear that many patients experience.

What Is The Best Alternative To MRI Scan?

If you've ever been injured, you've probably had an imaging exam. Imaging tests are extremely powerful diagnostic tools that can assist doctors in diagnosing a wide range of conditions. However, imaging tests are not interchangeable. 

Learn the differences between a CT scan, an MRI, and an X-ray so you can have an informed conversation with your doctor about which type of imaging is best for you.

CT Scan vs MRI

CT scans and  MRIs are the most common diagnostic tools that enable doctors to see inside the body. They generate images by using various types of electromagnetic energy, such as radio waves and X-rays. These imaging technologies differ greatly in terms of:

• Accessibility

• Resolution

• Type of energy used

CT Scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan sends radiation through the body. However, it provides a much higher level of detail than a simple X-ray study, creating computerised, 360-degree views of the body's structures.

CT Scans Can Detect:

• Blood clots

• Organ Injury

• Bone fractures, including subtle fractures not visible on X-ray

What Happens During A CT Scan

If your doctor requested a CT scan, the fluid will be injected into your system. You may be asked to drink contrast if you need a scan of your digestive tract. You will lie down on a table similar to that used for an MRI after putting on medical scrubs (top and pants) or a hospital gown. The table is lowered into the scanning device, which is significantly quieter and faster than an MRI. 

During the exam, you should not feel any pain. During the scan, nothing touches your body. Most scans finish in 10 minutes. Depending on which screening you want, CT scans can be alternative to MRI scans.

How Do MRI And CT Scans Differ?

There are several variations between CT and MRI scans. Typically, your doctor will choose the best scanning tool for your specific situation. Here are some of the differences between the two


CT scans are nearly half the cost of MRIs. A typical CT scan costs around Rs. 4000, while an MRI costs around Rs. 9000.


CT scans are much faster than MRIs. The exact time required depends on whether a contrast dye is required for the procedure, but MRIs always take longer to scan. A typical CT scan takes 10 minutes, whereas an MRI can take an hour or more.


MRIs will produce sharper, more detailed results, particularly of soft tissues and behind bones, which CT scans may obscure.

Sound Level

Earplugs or headphones will be provided to reduce the effect on your ears during an MRI. CT scans are much quieter than MRIs, and no ear protection is required during the procedure.

MRI vs CT Scan: Which One Is Right For You?

The appropriate scan for you will be determined by what your doctor is looking for. Your symptoms and medical history will help your doctor make the best decision when selecting a diagnostic scan. The risk factors that may prevent you from having a CT scan or an MRI will become important criteria when your doctor chooses the best scan for you.

Key Takeaways

MRI Claustrophobia is treatable and people can recover from the condition. For some people, claustrophobia disappears when they get older. If it doesn’t, there are different ways you can treat your fear and physical symptoms, as well as manage your triggers to live an active and fulfilling life. 

Consult your doctor to determine whether sedation is the best option for reducing MRI claustrophobia. With HealthAssure's Unlimited Face-to-Face Doctor Consultations, you may reach out with any diagnostic queries. OPD diagnostics can be costly, but don't worry, HealthAssure allows you to save money out of pocket. Click here to learn more about the advantages.

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