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MRI without contrast?

I've had symptoms for a while now, wen't to the neuro scared of MS. I had a neurological evaluation, everything seemed normal. He sent me for 3 MRI's, cervical/lumbar spine, and brain. They all came back normal, but they were without contrast... It made me happy and worry less, because I heard only 5% of people with MS don't have detectable lesions on MRI's, BUT is that non contrast MRI's? Should I still be pretty much in the clear and looking for something else even though they were NON contrast? I am so frustrated
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1831849 tn?1383228392
Hi MB - The readers digest version is this; all lesions will show up without contrast, regardless of activity level. Active lesions will show up under contrast.

Here is a much more eloquent explanation from ourr very own Lulu...

"Yes, the MRI will show the lesions, regardless of whether there is contrast used.  The MRI without contrast will show all visible lesions, with no distinction betwen new and old lesions.

The MRI with contrast will show all visible lesions, with the new ones (around 30 days of appearance or so) absorbing the contrast and glowing.  

The MRI with contrast helps to distinguish the old from the new, and can also be used to establish separation in time for the Mcdondald criteria.  

Notice that i write *visible* lesions - we know that the current technology does not show everything.

It sounds to me from your question as if your MRI did not show three lesions that were there before - am I guessing correctly? It is quite possible for lesions to heal - remember our body is constantly trying to repair the damage, and does so regularly.  The repair job isn't perfect, but it can make the lesions less obvious to the MRI. "

Hope this helps,
Kyle
Helpful - 0
1831849 tn?1383228392
Here is a link to the MedHelp Health Page discussing MRI's and lesions.

http://www.medhelp.org/tags/health_page/7687/Multiple-Sclerosis/How-MRIs-Show-Lesions-in-MS?hp_id=23
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Avatar universal
Thanks for the answer, and to clear things up a bit, I had 3 MRI's done like I said above, and they all came back completely normal. They were non contrast MRI's as well , . So what you are saying, is that even though if several MRI's  were taken non contrast, there would most likely be some sort of abnormality that will show, if the person has MS?
Helpful - 0
1831849 tn?1383228392
Most likely. There are cases of people being diagnosed without lesions appearing on their MRI's. These are the exception rather than the rule.

The name multiple sclerosis translates to many scars(lesions). The disease gets its name from the fact that there are many lesions seen on nerves in the central nervous system.

Whether or not lesions appear, or how quickly they can be identified, can depend on the strength of the MRI machine in use. Newer 3T MRI machines are better at lesion detection than older 1.5T machines.

Contrast is used to determine the activity level of lesions. Contrast will not cause lesions to appear that did not appear without contrast. Lesions active within the last 30 days will 'glow', or enhance, in the presence of contrast solution.

This can be a bit confusing :-)

Kyle
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