MRIs: Why Always Head First?

I’ve had enough MRIs to study my back to know you always slide in head-first like a loaf of bread. But, why can’t one be placed in feet-first and not suffer the claustrophobia?

I dunno - maybe if they were MRI’ing your feet you would go in feet first?

When I was MRIed for prostate cancer, they put me in feet first. I did get put all the way in at the end and it was claustrophobic.

It isn’t always head first, MR of the lower extremities will typically have just your legs go into the scanner.

I had a knee MRI, went in feet first.

I’ve never had an MRI, but the thought of it TERRIFIES me.

I’m afraid I would completely freak out, and just go crazy.
I dunno how I’ll react…maybe scream, flail around, kicking violently.

Am I the only one?
Is there a way to calm me down?

I know that logically, there’s no reason to worry. But I’m afraid that when they slide me into the tube, the logical side of my brain will turn itself off.

Just think of it like taking a long nap in a coffin.

I had my most recent mri feet first. I’m…broad shouldered:) and it just lined up better for my L5S1 centered mri.

I’ve had abdominal and leg MRIs, all feet first. I’m not claustrophobic like that so i don’t care which direction I go in. There is a place nearby that has an open MRI machine but it has some limitations.

How often do you put a loaf of bread in an MRI?

It wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences (so damn noisy for one thing), but I closed my eyes and used the technique of telling my muscles to relax in turn, from the feet up. It was for a research study, so I don’t know if this is normal practice in diagnostic use, but the operator was talking to me through headphones, telling me when to breathe and/or hold my breath, so that gave me something to focus on as well. It certainly wasn’t fun with my eyes open inside, like being in the overhead locker on a plane.

I have been talked to during a MRI. I think it’s standard. My MIL had to have valium for one. She had dementia and could not be coaxed or conned into the machine.


Yes. Sedation of various sorts can be used to keep people calm.

A WAG: If somebody is going to panic inside an MRI machine, they’re most likely to do it when their head goes inside. So maybe the technicians figure they’ll put your head in first for that reason. If you’re going to panic, they find out right at the start of the procedure rather than when it’s almost completed.

I’m not claustrophobic, so having my head in the MRI doesn’t bother me. It’s the noise level that makes me feel like screaming. After the first 20 minutes, I’m ready to confess to crimes I never committed. They’d have to knock me out to get me in another one.

I’ve had about 15 MRIs since 2000, mostly head with a few full spine and 1 cardiac.

The operator usually yells at me to stay still as I tend to move when I fall asleep :cool:

I just had an MRI last week. They give you a little thing to squeeze if you need help, or need to get out. I wonder how many people use it.

I had an MRI once where I was fitted with prism glasses: instead of staring at the interior of the MRI machine two inches from your face, this lets you see out into the room as if you were sitting upright. I had had other MRIs without those and did fine, but I could see where something like this would be helpful for claustrophobic individuals.

When I had an MRI of my ankle prior to surgery, that’s all that went in, just my feet and ankles. My head stayed out.

FWIW, I like enclosed spaces. I love sleeping in sleeping bags, and I think being in an MRI machine is comforting. I don’t know what it says about me, but I have this in common with a lot of autistic people.

In the one I had it actually made me giggle, it sounded so much like the stuff my really noisy upstairs neighbour at the time listened to. Kept imagining Dj MRI being played at a nightclub.

Personally I think head first was better for not triggering claustrophobia (I don’t get it badly, but I get the odd random trigger). Being able to see the way I came in if I looked down, rather than it being over my head seems better to me.