Brain MRI last week - feedback please?

Hi everyone.

I’m still not diagnosed but going by neurological tests so far & family history, the neurologist believes I have MS.

I had my first MRI on Friday but it was only of the brain & without contrast. It was on the report between my GP & neurologist that I needed brain, neck & spine MRI. Now I don’t know if this is the only scan I’m getting.

Am I right in thinking this was a bit of a waste of time just doing a brain MRI because if it is MS, the brain could still be clear due to a lesion(s) on the neck or spine instead?

Did any of you just get a brain MRI in the beginning? I was told it would be May before I had an MRI so I’m maybe guessing perhaps there was a cancellation for a brain MRI so they gave me this in the mean time, but why not just do the full scan then lol. I guess my fear is if the brain is clear then they won’t bother investigating things further! Plus I thought having the scan with contrast was much better?!

I’d appreciate any feedback & how it was for you guys with the diagnosing process.

Thanks x

You need to ask them, I think. No use worrying and guessing.

I had brain and C-spine scans before dx but without contrast. You don’t need the contrast dye to see lesions, but the dye will point up more easily which lesions, if any, are currently active and inflamed as opposed to more general tell-tale signs of damage past or present.


Hi there

I’m basically in the same position as you… both gp and neurologist have said that it looks like it could be ms. I presumed (wrongly) that I would have a brain and spinal mri… when I received letter to say it was just brain scan I called neurologist Secretary who in turn got the neurologist to call me… she basically said that if it’s ms then it would show on brain mri and they wouldn’t do spinal at this stage because if it wasn’t ms it would be a waste of funds! I have the same fears as you and am worried that they are only getting one half of the jigsaw . if you look at my post (unhappy) in this section of the forum a few people have given their experiences which may help to explain things further and put your mind at ease :slight_smile:

Best wishes really hope you get answers soon x

I’ll repeat what I said previously to Glittergirl - it’s extremely rare to have lesions in the spinal cord, but NOT the brain, and would probably point to it being something rarer than MS. So the brain is a more logical place to start, given that rare things are rare, as my neuro once memorably put it! Yes, it’s stating the obvious - but he means you pursue more mainstream lines of inquiry first, before suspecting it might be something obscure - which in this case means assuming the vast majority patients would****n’t have spinal lesions without brain lesions - so there’s no point looking for both. You go for the most likely scenario first.

In addition to that, spinal lesions are typically less distinct on MRI than brain lesions, so in the unlikely event you did have lesions of the spinal cord only, they do not present so clearly and convincingly. Mine were almost dismissed as “artifactual” - which basically means a false positive caused by idiosyncrasies of the scanning process. They were not nice, clear lesions, which obviously had a biological cause. They were just unexplained features of the scan, that might have been due to some technical “hiccup”, and didn’t really prove there was anything wrong with me - just left enough questions to keep looking.

So bearing in mind the NHS is permanently and inevitably on a budget, scanning in order of likelihood seems the most efficient way of doing it, instead of routinely scanning everything every time…


My experience rather bears out the point Tina’s making: My first MRI was brain only, without contrast. It revealed multiple lesions in both hemispheres. I was called back within a week for a brain and full spine MRI with contrast. This revealed that none of the brain lesions were active and the spine was clear. My diagnosis was confirmed when a later MRI showed progression.

I do now have a spinal cord lesion - just the one - and it’s nigh on impossible to see the thing on MRI, but it does produce symptoms, so I certainly know it’s there.