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Help - MRI - should I do it without gadolinium contrast?
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Help - MRI - should I do it without gadolinium contrast?

I had a baby 18 months ago and hemmoraged and then had retained placenta for about 3 months.  I've had various symptoms over the past 18 months since my baby was born (hypothyroid, now on Synthroid, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal discomfort)...  My dr has recommended an MRI of my pelvis and abdomen to look for lesions, in case there is any cancer developing.  I'm having the MRI tomorrow.

I am hoping to have another baby, and due to my age, we hope to keep trying.  

I already know (from a prior test where a saline solution contrast was used) that I have some calcification in my uterus and I know where it is.

My understanding is that a cancer diagnosis can really only be made based on a biopsy, and that it isn't made just based on an MRI. Is that true?

My question is:  is it necessary to have the gadolinium contrast with the MRI?  I understand that this agent isn't well researched, is toxic and doesn't have a good safety record.  I am concerned that the agent will remain in my bloodstream for some time and that this toxic substance probably isn't good to have in my body while trying to conceive.

Help! Do I really need to have the contrast? If I don't, is it likely that the MRI would miss something important?  I do want to be confident in the MRI results, but at the same time am having a lot of difficulty accepting the idea of allowing this product into my body.
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155056_tn?1333642288
I have never had any contrast with an MRI, only with a CT Scan.  

What do the techs and doctors say about the contrast?  

Remember, that they are doing tests that they feel necessary......if the contrast takes a week or so to leave your body, so what.....peace of mind is worth it.  Also, think about the child that you have....that child has the right to know that it's mother will do everything possible to be certain that she is in good health.

Tough decision and one that should be discussed with the doctors and techs.

Technically, a biopsy is required to diagnosis OvCa...HOWEVER....there are doctors, technicans that can be pretty positive in their findings with later stage Ovarian Cancer, from test results.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, thank you so much for your thoughts.... this is a very good point!  My dr wouldn't say whether to have the contrast or not.  I ended up doing what the technologist had suggested... having the MRI first without the contrast, and then allowing them to look at the images, and after that if they thought there was anything there that could be better illuminated with the contrast, then I'd have the contrast.  Ultimately, I wanted to know what was going on, and to be confident in the results.  

In case it's of any help to anyone else out there.... As I understand it (based on talking to the technologists), an MRI even of the pelvis and abdomen is still a very good test without contrast.... they can see all substances in the body that can be seen with contrast.  It's just that if they see something (without the contrast), they just see if there is 'something' there, but won't necessarily be able to tell if it's a cyst, a tumor, or something else.  If they see 'something', that's when the contrast becomes valuable.... since the contrast does something to the blood vessels to make spots where blood is pooling glow.  So, if the contrast is added, and that 'something' glows, then they suspect it's a tumor.  But if there are no 'somethings' without contrast, then it's not necessary to have contrast - it doesn't really add any more informatoin, since there is nothing to 'glow'.  I"m not a physician but that's what I took from my several conversations with them.  Thank you again.... this is such a fantastic site.
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