Ct scan with contrast and MRI - any advise pls

Hi again 

My name is Aaron 

I have got a CT scan with contrast and a MRI the same day ( this Friday ) I’m bricking it - reading about reactions to contracts and being in a confined space 

any words of advise ? I have CT at 8am and MRI at 9am x

did anyone ask for sedation or take Valium 

  • Hi Aaron

    Have you got a phone number you can call on the letter?

    I understand your concerns about the contrast and also the MRI.

    With the CT scan with contrast- I did have a reaction and it was mainly an itchy rash all over. It came up within 24 hours. I was told by my consultant it was an allergic reaction. I had piriton and mild steroid cream to treat it. When I was next due to have another one the consultant did it without the contrast and said that all further ones would be the same. They said that although the contrast does make things clearer, they can still go ahead and scan and look at the results without it. I did offer to have the contrast again with medication before hand but they said no. Before the scan they did ask me about any allergies etc and because I do have allergies and asthma there was a slightly higher risk. I would tell them your concerns and see what they can do to reassure you. 

    I did not have an MRI scan but I understand your worry about feeling claustrophobic. I did to some extent even with the CT scan and during my radiotherapy where the machine moves around you. It wasn't even closed in. If I was told an MRI I would certainly ask about having some sort of sedative before hand. From what I have seen on here it is a fairly common thing to request. The main thing for them is to be able to get accurate images and for that you need to be able to keep still and not panic so I am sure that they can sort something.

    Another thing that helped me during my scans- and I had a lot- was to mention to the radiographer before hand that I felt very nervous. I was able to choose music and was given a ring to hold and they also talked to me the whole time they were out of the room. That made a huge difference. I also found it helpful to speak to them before the scan days to ask them exactly what would happen- eg; drinking water, going to the toilet, what to wear etc- all helped

    Don't sit and worry- give them a call and see what they can offer to support you.


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  • Hi  

    I’m not a big fan of any type of scan, but have had multiple Ct and mri scans over the past 5 years, with and without contrast. I’ve never had a reaction to the contrast though it does make you feel like you need the loo! The CT scanner is not a machine in which you are enclosed-you lie on the table and it moves over you. And with the mri scan, your head should still be outside, given the nature of the area to be scanned. I’ve had injections of Buscopan with mri scans to stop the bowel moving. The contrast is used to enhance the quality of the images but as not everyone can tolerate the contrast dye, it’s perfectly possible to have scans without contrast. The mri scanner can be very noisy, which I wasn’t warned about, so just be aware that this may be the case, and I also felt significant “thumping” from underneath. 

    I am claustrophobic so found an eyemask helpful-provided by staff when I went in and told them I was nervous. This helped, although my head and shoulders were not inside the machine. I had the radio on headphones, and tried to imagine myself in a calming place, on the beach with my feet in the ocean! You will have a button to press while in the mri scanner and if everything gets too much you can press this and it will stop and the staff will take you out.

    However, I’d encourage you to try your best to get through both scans as they are providing different types of images which will all contribute to your diagnosis and plan. I was offered sedation but declined and did get through them, but it’s perfectly normal to take something in advance to calm you. 

    In my experience, the staff are very understanding of our fears and will do their best to reassure you. I hope all goes smoothly tomorrow for you-these scans are another step in the diagnostic process. I last had an mri last month and I’m still nervous of them even after all these years-I still cry going into the room as I unfortunately suffer from ptsd, and I’m always glad to get them over with. 

    Sarah xx

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  • Hi Aaron ( ), 

    From my experience your MRI will probably be a pelvic MRI which means you’ll not go completely into the machine, I’ve always been in up to my chest, the MRI scanner is pretty clunky & noisy but I’ve always been given headphones with a choice of music to listen to & had a buzzer if for any reason I needed the scan to stop. The CT with contrast is much quicker & you just pass through a machine like a  huge polo mint, once you’re through you receive the contrast through a cannula in your hand/arm, it makes you go a little warm & you can get a metallic taste in your mouth & then you go back through the ‘polo mint’ again, personally I’ve never had s reaction to the contrast & have had no lasting issues & have never had to take medication prior to a scan. Hope this helps a little. 


  • Hi Aaron,

    I don't need anything for the scans, but my anxiety is through the roof when it comes to DREs and anoscopies (which you'll only have to deal with if you're in the States.)

    I wised up early this year and have started requesting a little relaxant/anti anxiety med of some sort before a check-up. It's helped a LOT.

    There's time to call!



  • Just keep your eyes closed in the MRI machine, and think of something really pleasant, sex??  It works for me, even though I’m a bit claustrophobic. Prob would work in the CT scanner, but that’s a lot more open 

  • Hello Aaron

    Every time I have had had a scan, the staff have been unfailing kind and made sure that I am comfortable.  The CT scan is literally minutes, the MRI takes a lot longer but you have an device where you can call the staff if at any time if you need reassurance.  I keep my eyes closed and listen to music, and at one time I even dozed off, which is unbelievable (given it can be quite noisy) but absolutely true.  I have never had sedatives but that isn't to say you shouldn't ask if you need some support.

    I will be thinking of you on Friday and willing the time away.

    Irene xx 

  • Hi Aaron I did not have any allergic reaction to the scans or dye. As said on here you will possibly not be totally immersed in the scanner unless they are going for the full body scan. I would get myself comfortable and they gave me a blanket and would sing in my head a fabulous song to a grand audience even though I cannot sing and would try and remember the words to distract myself. Just explain to them you are nervous and they are usually very sympathetic