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Topic: Couldn't fit into MRI? Aaargh!

Forum: Emotional Crises: Anxiety, Depression & Other Emotional Effects —

Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around breast cancer fears, diagnosis and treatment.

Posted on: Dec 17, 2012 01:23PM

amontro wrote:

I went to the hospital for an MRI on my mx side. I've felt a lump, like a gland, that moved, and I'm in pain (I've had many lymph glands removed during my mx).  My surgeon made me an appt. in the evening at the hospital.

Two techs, first of all, could not find out where to put the needle in for the contrast. After that, I was told to lay face down on a platform which stuck out from the MRI.  When they tried to back me in, my lower buttocks were squashed and I couldn't breath.  They wanted to force me in and said it would only take a short time. That was the end of that. I looked at the opening to the MRI and, with the platform, there wasn't much room anyway.  They kept asking if I'd ever had this done before and, of course, I did in the same room of this hospital with no problem.

When I asked the tech if the hospital had any other MRIs (surely this couldn't be the largest), I was met with total silence.  My daughter, who drove me there, told me that I was not that big.  What would happen if a man needed an MRI?  He'd have to be less that 6' and 150 lbs. I'll be going to a different radiologist end of next week who can "squeeze"me in.  I'm furious and mortified, and now I have to spend my holiday waiting and wondering.

Is there something wrong with me? Has anyone else had trouble with a platform in an MRI?

Dx 9/2008, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, HER2+
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Dec 17, 2012 03:39PM Blessings2011 wrote:

amontro - I'm so sorry that happened to you...that was totally unacceptable! You're absolutely right...MRIs need to be able to accommodate any size patient...and there are some big boys out there.

I haven't done the platform MRI (in fact, I would have had to travel to another town for a breast MRI) but I have had the experience of being squeezed into the machine...and wondering how they would deal with larger patients. In fact, a big man would not have fit into the MRI I was in.

Wishing you the best on your upcoming results... 

Dx 9/15/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/5/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/22/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 9/5/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 10/22/2013 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 17, 2012 05:12PM mgdsmc wrote:

I find this very interesting. MRI machine aren't all the same size? I had no idea that it wouldn't be large enough to fit all patients. I had MRI of of my breast and its not a quick test. Each one was at least 45 min of laying on my abdomen not moving, sucked.

The MRI I was in was large and would have any problem fitting a man up to 300 pounds but I'm just guessing. So what will be the other options for testing?

Dx 2/15/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 6/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/29/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 5/23/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 10/26/2012 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap Hormonal Therapy
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Dec 17, 2012 06:08PM Stormynyte wrote:

I had the same issue. I fit in, but barely. My arms were smashed into my sides and as I was on my back and before MX, my boobs were squished. I wondered the same thing, how on earth would my dad fit in there?? He's 6' 4 and about 250. Tho he woulnd't have the boob issue his shoulders are wider than mine and mine only had about 1/2 an inch to spare.

It can't rain forever. Dx 10/28/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 4/11 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2011 Surgery 5/17/2012 Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/26/2012 AC Chemotherapy 1/28/2013 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 2/20/2013 Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Dec 17, 2012 09:14PM Soteria205 wrote:

Same problem here. I'm am a large gal, but I've had MRIs before with absolutely no problem, but when my bone scan came back with my shoulder showing wicked bright with more activity than other places that I had arthritis, they sent me for an MRI to rule out bone mets on the shoulder.

I lie down on the table. Machine was so small, I had to put my arm flat above my head and when they got me inside, very carefully bring it back around to lie flat at my side. I looked up and saw the top of the machine 4 inches from my face and said gt me out I can't breathe.

They rescheduled for a few days later and told me to take an Ativan before MRI. I did, and also wore a sleep mask. The MRI was supposed to be 25-30 minutes. At the end of that time my back was in so much pain from degenerative discs and that horribly hard table, that when they pulled me out and said, they needed to give me contrast dye and do 30 more minutes. I said no. I could barely walk out of there I was in such pain.

So, it was inconclusive. Radiologist refuses to say for sure that here are no mets.

They told me this is a large open MRI. They are nuts!!!

FIGHT LIKE A WARRIOR!!! Dx 7/27/2012, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 1, 13/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/21/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 12/6/2012 AC + T (Taxol)
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Dec 17, 2012 09:53PM Justsayyes wrote:

I just had a brain MRI last week, and was very surprised by how tight the area was.  I was on my back and my arms/elbows were snug against the sides of the "tube".  It was also the noisiest machine I have ever experienced, the tech said it would be louder, and she was right.  Not only loud but relentless, non-stop noise.  I don't know how a larger person would get in to this machine.  I'm 5'6", 150.

I've had 5 previous MRI's, one lumbar, 3 brain, one breast (of both breasts).  This was the smallest machine yet.  I didn't have a good handle on the size of the breast MRI machine, I was face down and zoomed into it quickly. I have no idea of the space around me, but it didn't seem as spacious as older machines.

Dx 4/30/2012, DCIS, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 6/8/2012 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 7/23/2012 Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2012 Evista (raloxifene)
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Dec 17, 2012 09:56PM melmcbee wrote:

Aw man I just wrote a long post and lost it. grrr.

Mri breast coil takes a lot of space so you may not fit in there on that coil but you could probably have another body part done without problems. Imagine lying on your stomach and letting your breast hang in the holes without being squished. Thats why the breast coil takes up so much space. So all of the breast will fit inside the coil (hard palstic thing you are lying on). If you have larger breast and the coil was smaller it would squish the breast. The iv contrast is majorly important because it will light up a tumor or nodes that are malignant. Without the contrast you can see an abnormality but it could be benign. Claustrophobia is very common and we do have to reschedule patients so they can get valium or ativan to calm them and it usually works. I personally didnt like being in the machine for my breast MRI because I couldnt breathe very well lying on the breast coil. IM not sure what happened with the iv because any tech that can do a breast mri has a routine of where they put the iv, usually the arm, wrist, or hand. If you cant have iv's there or your veins are bad that may cause an issue. Being on this side of healthcare has reiterated the point of good patient care and the need of common courtesy, compassion and care. I am so sorry if you had a bad experience. There is no excuse for a patient leaving in worse shape than they arrived. Healing hugs and all of this does suck. I make sure I tell all my co workers how bad all this is to remind them of our reason for being in the medical field. Hugs to all of you.

Melanie. mentor smooth round high profile gel 700 rt 550 lt with fat grafting 5/30/2013 Dx 6/24/2012, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 8/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/8/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 8/8/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 8/22/2012 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/8/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 5/29/2013 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 12/3/2013 Reconstruction (right) Dx 3/29/2017, ILC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR- Targeted Therapy 5/15/2017 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Dec 18, 2012 12:27AM Justsayyes wrote:

Melmcbee, that was a very nice post, and I am feeling much better about the possibility of courtesy, compassion, and care.  Thanks for that!  (((Hugs)))) to you too.

Dx 4/30/2012, DCIS, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 6/8/2012 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 7/23/2012 Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2012 Evista (raloxifene)
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Feb 25, 2013 02:58PM amontro wrote:

The reason I was having the MRI was because I was feeling pain on the side and the arm where I had my mx.  I finally had the MRI at a facility with a larger machine. It was barely larger than the one at the hospital.  I laid face down with my head sideways on a pillow, my hair on my face, squished, breathing thru one nostril. I was told to keep my arms over my head and don't move, especially the arm with the contrast needle in my hand (that's another story).  

My other arm hurts, too. I remained in the same position for almost 1/2 hour and then I was in so much pain in my arms. The techs said if I moved the MRI would be no good.  I don't know how I did it but I focused on something else and made it through, much longer than 1/2 hour.  I wish I had been told to take something before the procedure - like percocet, ativan, etc.

My surgeon empathized with me that I was put through the wringer, but she found nothing wrong in the results. My arms and the rest of my body are just in pain because of the side effects from my meds, treatment, etc. 

I'm also suffering from depression again (I was diagnosed in the 90's, and was able to get out of it, up to now) - another side effect from meds, especially arimidex I'm told.

Dx 9/2008, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, HER2+
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Mar 24, 2013 10:08AM tootz1 wrote:

I had the same problem. So for anyone having the same problem:

-ask the MRI techs to measure from the top of the platform to the bottom of the MRI (upper area). In other words measure the length of the space you need to fit into. For me it was 12 inches.

-The MRI techs then called around the city to find one that had at least 1-2 inches lmore space and FOUND one! The length was 14 inches because the platform was flatter and the MRI was 1 inch longer. So MRI had to be rescheduled at another MRI site and fit without a problem. 

-I recommended to the former MRI site to obtain the flatter platform so they would not have to send individuals out to other sites. 

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