807129 tn?1245273527

Repeat MRIs - same lesions but "brighter"?

I am new here and not yet diagnosed.  In a nutshell, I have had only minor symptoms, no major "attack", and apparently nothing worthy of a diagnosis.  My mom has MS, so I am hyper-sensitive to my body's twinges, etc.  My main symptoms are sensory, like tingling patches that come and go.  In the past I've had a morning or two of vertigo, a short period of smokey vision (eye dr. found nothing), and I'm not sure if unexplained chest pains could actually be MS hug.  I've had bladder problems, which could be attributed to my 9 pound 7 ounce baby.  
When I first had tingling, I think they sent me to the neuro because of my family history and didn't expect to find anything.  BUT, my MRI did show multiple punctate non-specific white matter lesions, possible MS or vasculitis or from migraines.  All other tests for MS were negative (LP, VEP), as were all other tests to rule out other causes (blood tests for Lyme, Lupus, vitamin deficiencies, a PFO test).  So I went about my life.  After one pregnancy symptom-free (suspicious, no?) my symptoms returned along with some brain fog (could be attributed to sleep-deprivation).  I had another MRI, which showed no new lesions, but the same old lesions appeared a tiny bit bigger - my nuero couldn't tell if the change was simply from a new machine.  So, I went on my way.  After a second pregnancy, also symptom-free (hmm, even more suspicious) my familiar symptoms returned.  A third MRI again revealed no new lesions, but the same ones now looked "brighter" or more prominent.  Again, my neuro couldn't tell if this was a true change or a change in the technology.  So, I remain in limbo.
My question is whether anyone knows what it could mean to have no new lesions, but rather have the same lesions appear larger/brighter on repeat scans (if not just an artifact of using a different machine)?  Would any of the other potential causes of lesions, other than MS, behave this way?  Or only MS?  Oh, I guess I should mention the dates of my scans - 2003, 2007, and just 2 weeks ago in 2009.  So, no new lesions in 6 years.
Thank you, in advance, for any help,
3 Responses
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198419 tn?1360242356
Welcome Laurel! I like your name!

I have heard on our forum over and over that the ladies are symptom free until after pregnancy, so I am not surprised to hear this.

Question for you. Did you have your images compared? Though it was a different machine, the most recent facility 2 weeks ago should not have had a problem comparing 07's images if they were asked to do so.

If not, that is what I would do.  I actually did it last time I went.  It was a down right pain in the you know what to finally get it done, but was worth the effort in the end.

Do you have images and reports?

Did the Dr. give you thoughts on the lesions?
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807129 tn?1245273527
Thank you for your reply!  

I know, I have also heard that women have no/fewer symptoms during pregnancy, which is why it seems so suspicious/scary to me that I have that pattern.  

Regarding comparing the MRI's, all three were done by the same lab, so I think part of their report included a comparison, and that's where my neuro was reading that the spots appeared brighter or more prominent.  But the report didn't specify a reason, nor did my neuro give one, other than saying he didn't know whether this was me or the updated technology picking up more.  

I don't have copies, other than from my 1st one in 2003.  I'll try to get them next time I go see my neuro.  But he did read the report directly to me.  And I think it was exactly the same as the previous report, but also noting this increased prominence.  

The more I read on here (what an informative site, btw!), I am thinking that my symptoms may come from a spinal lesion.  I am getting an MRI of the cervical spine next, so I guess I'll just wait and see.  I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas what brighter spots could mean.  And whether no new spots in 6 years was a positive sign (although the more I read here I see that some people have had just 1 lesion over the course of their disease, so I am guessing it doesn't really matter that I don't have any new ones in 6 years).  

Thanks, again!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi and welcome.

One thing jumps out at me from your posts, and that is that your doctor seems to not even look at the MRI images himself, but instead, just reads the radiology report and goes by that. NO NO NO. Neuros are supposed to be able to read MRIs independently. They may agree or disagree with the radiologist, and that's fine. Some don't even look at the report till they've done their own analysis, so as not to be influenced one way or the other. But MRIs are their job! Particularly if they are basing a diagnosis on them, or withholding a diagnosis.

it sounds to me as if your doctor could continue this way forever. So my advice is to get copies of all your MRIs and all reports (including other types of testing), and take them to a new neuro, ideally an MS specialist.

The way you describe your symptoms they really don't sound much like MS, but I understand why you're hypervigilant. MS doesn't show up for an hour or two here and there. Also 'punctate' lesions are tiny pinpoints, not the type usually seen in MS. However, I'm not a doctor, so I strongly suggest you get a better opinion. Meanwhile, please read our Health Pages (top right of screen) for a great deal of useful info. Also, please follow Quix's current thread about what symptoms are and are not like MS. I'm sure that one will go into the Health Pages too when it's finished.

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