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Virtual Entertainment System Enhances MRI Experience

February 17, 2011
The last time Kijana Williams went for an MRI, she experienced extreme anxiety while in the small confines of the machine. Until the imaging began, she had not realized how claustrophobic she was.

However, thanks to Somerset Medical Center’s new CinemaVision Virtual Reality System, Williams, 31, of Somerville, was able to conquer her fear of the MRI while watching a movie for the duration of her scanning.

“Being able to have my MRI done while watching a movie really helped me to get through the scanning,” Williams says. “Without it, I don’t know if I would have been able to remain calm enough to have the proper images taken.”

CinemaVision is a special video and sound system that immerses patients in a calming world during scans. Through the use of movies, music and children’s cartoons, patients who might have otherwise been afraid of the often intimidating MRI exam are able to take advantage of one of today’s most valuable diagnostic tools.

“An estimated 20 percent of patients react with fear or claustrophobia to confining, dark and often noisy MRI procedures and cannot be imaged as a result,” reports Michael Connelly, director of Radiology at Somerset Medical Center. “With CinemaVision, we bring a relaxing multi-media entertainment experience inside the MRI during imaging, helping patients to tolerate the exams better.”

Connelly notes that the difference has been dramatic, and that patients who refused MRI scans in the past now have no problem with the procedure.

“It was like I was at the movies,” says Williams. “Through the special goggles you wear, you can also see the technician guiding you through the imaging, which is reassuring. It’s also great that patients can bring their own movies and music to help relax them during the procedure.”

MRI scanners use radio frequency waves and a strong magnetic field to produce clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues, allowing medical professionals to deliver the best quality of care and a highly accurate diagnosis to patients. For more information about MRI imaging at Somerset Medical Center, please visit the Radiology Department’s website at To schedule an MRI, please call 908-685-2930 and ask for CinemaVision.