MRI / CT Under Anesthesia

Having anesthesia for an MRI or CT means that you will be unconscious and unaware throughout the procedure. Anesthesia is administered by an anesthesiologist. Anesthesia is most commonly used for surgery; however, in some cases it may be offered to patients undergoing other tests or procedures. In the case of MRI or CT, the reasons will vary but may include a pre-existing injury or illness which makes it difficult for the patient to lie flat or keep still for long enough for the scan to be completed. Your consultant will explain this to you and you will be seen by an anesthesiologist beforehand. They will ensure that this is an appropriate and safe option for you.

Suitable for:

  • Patient who can’t or won’t hold still
  • Pediatric procedures
  • Patients who get anxiety or experience of psychological distress
  • Patients who report extreme pain laying on back
  • Patients with Ventilator dependency
  • Claustrophobic patients (fear of enclosed spaces, such as the MRI tube)
  • Patients with other potential complicating factors

What are the benefits, risks and side effects of general anesthesia?

Anesthesia removes pain, sensation and awareness. With modern developments, anesthesia is extremely safe. However, there is always some risk which depends on many factors, including any medical conditions that you may have. It is up to you to decide whether you have a general anesthesia for your MRI scan. Everyone varies in the risks they are willing to take. Your anesthesiologist will be able to talk to you about your individual risk.

How to prepare?

We need to know all the medicines that you currently take. This includes prescription, over the counter, herbal or homeopathic, creams, inhalers and eye drops. It is also essential to tell us about any allergies you have, including allergies to food, medicines and adhesives. You may find it helpful to bring a list of questions you would like to ask. Before going under anesthesia you will need to fast for at least six hours. This is to ensure that your stomach is empty. You can drink small amounts of water up to two hours before your anesthesia. In most cases you should take your usual morning tablets with a sip of water at 6.00am.