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Anyone had MRI scan on pituitary gland or just the head in general - what to expect? Is it claustrophobic??

(21 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Sat 03-Oct-09 10:12:38

I'm due to have an MRI scan of my pituitary gland this week and though I thought it would be a breeze, I'm starting to get nervous. I've had one of the head before several years ago and was lucky in that they kept most of me out of the metal 'tube' bit so it really was not claustrophobic at all. But am worried that was not standard and that when I go for my scan this time I will be much more inside the tube. I'm very claustrophobic (I can't even watch people inside an MRI on a medical drama without getting palpitations) and don't want to freak out!

Anyone have any experience of MRI head scans in general or of pituitary in particular, and can give me any advice or reassurance??

Thanks so much, I know it's a bit wimpy. This just freaks me out far more than the prospect of anything hurting or being intrusive... blush

thesouthsbelle Sat 03-Oct-09 10:15:12

Yes I have, several times on the gland as well.

basically I was only put in there to my shoulders and not right in - at least i don't remember going right in there. I basically closed my eyes, and pretended to be somewhere else.

Also if you mention to them you're not too keen they may (as with me) bring you out half way thru for a bit of a breather.

emeraldgirl1 Sat 03-Oct-09 10:21:17

ah, thank you southbelle, that helps. This is how I remember it from my previous head scan several years ago but that was at a different hospital so I just thought maybe I had got lucky that time. Up to my shoulders is completely do-able... I will close my eyes and think happy thoughts I suppose, no matter what!

LeonieSoSleepy Sat 03-Oct-09 10:30:15

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emeraldgirl1 Sat 03-Oct-09 10:34:33

OK, thank you... really appreciate your reply! I'm starting to think that maybe what I had a few years ago was a CT scan and not an MRI as the doughnut-shaped scanner was much thinner if that makes sense, and didn't even have the option of putting me further back into a machine.

LeonieSoSleepy Sat 03-Oct-09 10:43:51

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LeonieSoSleepy Sat 03-Oct-09 10:45:11

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DorotheaPlenticlew Sat 03-Oct-09 10:47:51

Yes, have had one and would second what someone else said about letting them know in advance that you might need a break if possible.

I was a bit claustro at first, got some reassurance part-way through from the technicians, then weirdly managed to fall asleep for the rest. hmm

emeraldgirl1 Sat 03-Oct-09 10:53:11

Yes, I think it was the giant Polo I was in last time (great description!)

I would ask for some Valium but my appointment for the scan is at 8.30 on Monday so I think it's too late

LeonieSoSleepy Sat 03-Oct-09 11:11:45

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ThingOne Sat 03-Oct-09 11:14:06

I'm with Leonie. Valium is he way to go if you are anxious. Sorry it's too late for you. You could try the out of hours service and see if they can prescribe it. Not sure if they can but it could be worth a go if your anxiety levels are high.

Have you got some strong 30mg codeine/500mg paracetamol? You could just take two of those which will take the edge of most of your senses for a while (if you're not used to codeine). But I wouldn't drive after they have kicked in, about 20-30 minutes, so you'd need a lift home.

emeraldgirl1 Sat 03-Oct-09 11:14:46

Yes, that's an option, good thinking... though I think probably I'll just try to tough it out when I get there!! I will mention to them that I'm claustrophobic and ask for a break, but I'm hopeful that if I just keep my eyes shut and force myself to breathe deeply I may be able to override any panicky feelings...

emeraldgirl1 Sat 03-Oct-09 11:16:03

Ah, ThingOne, great thinking on the painkillers front. I'm certainly not used to codeine and rarely take painkillers at all so they might have a pretty good effect. Is that something like Anadin?

ninedragons Sat 03-Oct-09 11:17:09

Definitely ask them for Valium. They're perfectly happy to hand it out, as it's by no means uncommon to be stressed and claustrophobic.

I wouldn't try to tough it out - they need you completely still and if you freak out they'll only need to do it again.

Milliways Sat 03-Oct-09 20:14:37

I had a head scan in August - and am due another one later this month.

It was weirder than other scans as I had the cage type thingy over my head, which meant I had to keep my eyes shut as they couldn't focus properly on the bars, but that just made me relax more. I was in about half way - all arms inside tube.

Take a favourite CD. They normally have a choice of music but they let DS play his own when he had a scan.

ABetaDad Sat 03-Oct-09 20:21:11

DW found it claustrophobic but they stopped imediately she asked so she gained confidence that she could get through it and would not be trapped inside the machine.

ThingOne Sat 03-Oct-09 20:30:07

You can only get 30mg codeine on prescription. The co-codamol you buy over the counter is 8mg codeine/500mg paracetamol so prob not enough to have much effect. Do you know anyone who might have had some after an operation, or an injury who might give you a couple? Obviously wouldn't dream of suggesting you take someone else's prescription drugs, oh no I really wouldn't wink.

whomovedmychocolate Sat 03-Oct-09 20:33:31

I had one and it was the weird thing on top of my head which rotated and was really, very loud. I could hear it for half an hour after it stopped. It seemed to take a very, very long time. I found it easier than the lie down machines though, they always seem like being insider the espresso machine to me (high pressure and a bit too gritty for comfort).

Laine4kids Sat 03-Oct-09 21:32:53

I had a pituitary MRI last year when diagnosed with sheehan's syndrome.
I was very worried about being claustaphobic but it was not as bad as I thought,only in up to shoulders.It was very noisy though.
I hope it goes well for you x

ellceeell Sat 03-Oct-09 22:56:55

I had one last year. I got warned in advance that it was very noisy with clicks and ocassional bangs but was told that was normal. I was offered a choice of music to listen to. I was in up to my shoulders and there was an angled mirror above my head so I could see the technicians, not the top of the scanner. I held a buzzer and was encouraged to press it if I wanted a break - they assured me that was better than blurred pictures which would mean re-scanning.
For me, the worst thing was having some dye injected first, to get a clearer picture - I'm more scared of needles than confined spaces blush
I don't know if that is standard procedure though.

Milliways Mon 05-Oct-09 20:37:01

Have a look at the first few seconds of This video which shows soneone finishing a head scan so you see how far in they are, the "head cage" etc.

This is the mobile scanner where I am having a repeat scan this month!

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