Can an MRI scanner built in Lego reduce anxiety in first time, young, anxious and plus-size patients?
According to Apollo Exconde, Senior Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Radiographer it can. Apollo has created and designed an open MRI Lego piece to represent to patients the process of an MRI scan. Apollo has witnessed many nervous patients and came up with the concept to help first time, young, anxious and plus-size patients understand the different stages of what happens during an MRI scan. The Lego pieces have been designed with a wide, open view to give patients an idea of what the scanner looks like from inside and how much of their body will be positioned inside the scanner.
What is the aim of the Lego open MRI?
“My initial aim was to use the Lego open MRI when a patient arrives in our unit to demonstrate how the positioning will be, how far their head will enter and give the patient a positive impression of the machine. However, I soon realised that it would be healthier to show patients the Lego figure that it be available at the earliest possible stage so that the length of time rationalising will be minimised as whatever might be disturbing them shall be addressed at that level. This may include using the future in the clinic, point of referrer or on hospital wards.
What inspired you to create it?
“The InHealth Croydon MRI unit has three MRI machines, one of which is an open MRI scanner. I have dealt with claustrophobic, plus sized, first timers, anxious and children daily and have witnessed them not completing their scan which is a heart-breaking moment and has always left me emotionally disturbed for every cancellation. Some patients say, “Apollo bring me out!”, “Take me out!” or “I was not informed!”. From these statements, I felt a strong need to do something and make a change.
I was mentally challenged. If a patient has been referred to us to have an open MRI, it was because they have not managed to go through a conventional MRI and if they fail to do this again, this can be potentially detrimental as it will delay their clinical treatment.
I realised that it was not claustrophobia or anxiety that hinders them from having the procedure but the lack of a patient support system. Over the years, I tried developing my skills by attending courses and have researched various techniques, which unfortunately are either too expensive or impossible for a clinical set up. I have also learnt to assess patients scans and their level of fear and this inspired me to create a solution to help my patients conquer their panic whilst undergoing an MRI scan. In addition to the holistic approach, the idea of a Lego open MRI was born – to build confidence one Lego brick at a time.”
How will the Lego open MRI become a reality?
“The Lego open MRI will only become official after reaching 10,000 supporters and has passed the Lego review. I have been given one year to secure 1000 supporters and a further 6 months will be given to reach 5000 and a boost of 6 months for the 10,000 supporters.
I hope that the world will help me help those who cannot. Let’s beat scanxiety (scan anxiety), claustrophobia and build confidence one brick at a time!”
Please help Apollo to make the Lego open MRI scanner piece a reality by registering your email or social media account here.
Remember – every support we get builds one brick at a time.