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Healthy Tahoe: New MRI technology to ease your mind

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a non-invasive procedure which creates detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. While painless, some MRI patients feel anxious about the procedure, and fear they will be claustrophobic inside the machine. Claustrophobia — fear of confined spaces — affects roughly 9% of people in the U.S., according to the Journal of Psychological Medicine, and can cause additional distress in an already stressful situation.

Tom Davis

Your medical provider ordered an MRI exam because they need images of the inside of your body to assess and understand how best to treat a condition. MRI scans are very beneficial in identifying injuries and diagnosing diseases in their early stages, from cancerous tumors to torn ACLs and hip joint defects. These images are crucial to your care.

Your greatest defense for anxiety around feeling claustrophobic during the procedure is to learn more about the machine; MRI machines are not dark tunnels. They are well-lit, open on both ends of the tunnel (called a bore), and they are shorter and/ or wider than they once were. MRI technology has advanced to include Short Bore and Wide Bore imaging for patient comfort.



Short Bore MRI utilizes a smaller footprint; only the body part being imaged must remain inside the magnet part of the machine and the rest of the body can be outside of it. As a result of the smaller size of the machine, parents/caregivers canheal stay with a pediatric patient during an MRI exam to provide comfort and security.

Wide Bore MRI offers more room within the machine, providing more comfort for patients with claustrophobia as well as the ability to accommodate larger patients. Most patients who were not able to get an MRI done in the past due to claustrophobia are actually able to complete an MRI now with the wide bore/short bore technology.



Discuss MRI options with your care provider so you can get the exam you need – without feeling anxious, claustrophobic or embarrassed. Both Barton MRI systems (hospital and Stateline campus) are wide bore/short bore technology.

Tom Davis is the director of ancillary services and oversees Barton Medical Imaging. Learn more about Barton’s state-of-the-art MRI services, including the new Outpatient MRI location at Stateline Medical Center, at BartonHealth.org/MedicalImaging.


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