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Super Contributor
Posts: 452
Registered: ‎04-06-2010

I am to have an MRI of my shoulder this week, possible torn rotator cuff, and never have had one, except my knee, and that was a breeze, just slipped my leg into a cuff, and sat still. If anyone has had a shoulder MRI, could you please describe it? I'm somewhat claustrophobic, so I am thinking I need a sedative, is that a possibility? I am going to call the clinic before I go and ask questions, but woud like some input from anyone that has had this done.Thanks!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,148
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

My hubby had the stand up one and he said it was a breeze

Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive what could go right.
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,596
Registered: ‎10-01-2013

Re: Shoulder MRI

[ Edited ]

I had a torn bicep tendon and had 2 MRI's of my upper arm. I am also claustrophobic so had my Dr. prescribe a med to take prior to the test. It was very effective and the procedure was very simple. I certainly didn't stand up for it. Was assisted onto the table and entered the tube. The staff talked to me throughout to help keep me at ease. You have absolutely nothing to fear. 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,425
Registered: ‎05-22-2014

You will be fine!  If you are very nervous, perhaps your doc could prescribe something “to take the edge off.”  I am very claustrophobic, and I do understand your fears.  You will be fine!

Regular Contributor
Posts: 239
Registered: ‎11-06-2017

Re: Shoulder MRI

[ Edited ]

@nanny24   I am also extremely claustophobic..but have had to have a couple MRI's and I went to Opensided MRI here in Las Vegas...They only are in about 3 or 4  states..I believe las vegas, denver, california and louisville.. I also went and looked at it before I went so I new about it...it wasnt bad since I could see out the sides ..not sure I could do the other kind and really dont want to take any meds.....I think one of my MRI's was for a frozen shoulder (which I never heard of before and  thought it was torn rotator cuff)..check their website if you want..www.osmri.com

You probably dont have where you live and I am so glad they have one here..Ask if you can come first and try it out...And by the way, Insurance didnt pay but I didnt care...I think it cost me 350...alot cheaper than if they bill insurance...

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,088
Registered: ‎11-02-2015

@nanny24 wrote:

I am to have an MRI of my shoulder this week, possible torn rotator cuff, and never have had one, except my knee, and that was a breeze, just slipped my leg into a cuff, and sat still. If anyone has had a shoulder MRI, could you please describe it? I'm somewhat claustrophobic, so I am thinking I need a sedative, is that a possibility? I am going to call the clinic before I go and ask questions, but woud like some input from anyone that has had this done.Thanks!


@nanny24    I was really reluctant to respond to your post because of my recent experience with an MRI.  I had never had one and wish I had asked more questions before I had it done.  Mine was for a problem I have had with an ear since I was child.  
I was enclosed in a tube that covered my head and face for 45 minutes.  It was a terrible experience for me .  I never realized I was that claustrophobic....but I do now!     I'm not sure how much of your body will be enclosed for the shoulder...but if includes the head...please get as much input as possible and ask questions before you go.   Hopefully someone who has had the shoulder MRI will respond as well.  Better to know what to expect than to be surprised like a I was.   

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,820
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Shoulder MRI

[ Edited ]

@I am still oxox wrote:

My hubby had the stand up one and he said it was a breeze


 

 

 

@I am still oxox 

 

Didn't know they had those kind. I have had an MRI twice on my shoulder, both with the well known "tube".

 

Between an MRI and CAT Scans I've lost count of my number. For those not claustrophobic, the only issues some may find a tiny bit uncomfortable! One that use a "contrasting" material injection. There are different types and most of them produce different reactions in different people. I found none of them to be painful.

 

 

 

hckynut 🏒

hckynut(john)
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,488
Registered: ‎05-09-2014

I had a shoulder MRI done some years ago. The machine makes a lot of noise. It's pretty loud, so I was somewhat startled at first, maybe for a moment. But after a while I dozed (like I do on airplanes) for the 40 minutes or so it took for the entire process. The technician came in and tapped me back to alertness, though I should have noticed that the machine had quieted!

 

I didn't find it claustrophobic, and I was much more interested in how it worked and what the sensation of noise and vibration was like than to be affected by the somewhat confining "tunnel" aspect of it. At the time I had to undergo an MRI, these facilities had not yet come to be supplying patients with headphones and music to keep them relaxed or subdued. That's offered more often these days and you might be given the option of audio and music you prefer.

 

Ask in advance about the entire process of how you will be handled, what to wear (they usually supply a gown, so you want to wear clothing that's easy on and off). Leave your jewelry home, including watch and earrings. No metal is allowed in the MRI room.

 

If you close your eyes and listen to music (if available), you have less feeling of being shut in or surrounded, but maybe that's too glib a piece of advice. I'm sure they can oblige with a sedative to help you. In that case, they will very likely expect you to have someone to drive you home, so do call in advance about the policy or availability of sedation for those who are discomforted by the confinement inside the machine. 

 

I approach any test or external processes that I know are not invasive or painful (like x-rays, MRI, cardiograms, etc) with no anxiety and a great deal of curiosity and awe at the science. I get more anxious if I know there's any poking, sticking, or predictable pain included! But I am not suggesting my standards or tolerance might apply to everyone. 

 

Perhaps some reading will give you a better notion or  help set expectations:

 

https://radiology.ucsf.edu/patient-care/prepare/mri

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mri/about/pac-20384768

 

I hope I've helped to make you better prepared. Best of luck with what ails you. Hoping you hear a good outcome.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 21,148
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@nanny24 I felt the same way when I had one done  on my shoulder....they do play your choice of music...and they have good cool air flow so you feel better. The pounding though is SO LOUD. That the music is virtually worthless. 

 

 It is just still REALLY  LOUD even with ear plugs and ear sound covers over your ears.  

 

the fellow doing the MRI will talk you through it...and ask how you are...at any point you can ask to be pulled out if necessary.  So you are never left alone in the machine. He tells you what is next and how many minutes....that helps a lot 

 

I found shutting  my eyes helped me. ..I used an eye mask ...bring a  eye mask perhaps to help cover your eyes.   

just do it. It is no  big deal...and I was the biggest baby!

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,618
Registered: ‎08-31-2019

I think even for those not claustrophobic, that the MRI tunnel can be foreboding, but generally  tolerable for most. I sent many acute Psych patients for MRI's and even they managed to comply with reassurance, although sometimes a mild anxiety med was administered. 

 

I've had MRI's of my cervical and lumbar spine. My issues are the discomfort of the hard, cold table and necessity to lie still through completion. If you can't get comfortable and you're in pain, it's challenging.

 

Then, there's the noise level. I was given ear plugs, but it's still almost unbearably loud. I just kept reminding myself that while it seemed like forever, it really wasn't. It helped that the staff would give updates of how many minutes were left at intervals. Just when I felt like -- I've got to shift my body, I'm hurting here, I'd get an update that we were over the hump, or closing in on completion. That helped me ride it out. 

 

I think you will be fine. Just keep reminding yourself that the temporary discomfort is worth it to identify the problem and begin healing treatments. Hopefully with a great outcome.