confused by radiologist report.

Hello :slight_smile: Hope everyone is well Wondering if someone can help me please. I have had a few mri scans and I am confused by what is in my latest mri report. Please can someone help me, thank you It says Small focus of high signal intensity in the superior parietal region on the right side has stable appearances and is a vascular space. Have no idea what this means. Thank you for your help Merry Christmas all Xxxx


Sorry, I don’t know either. I don’t know why they bother sending these things out. It is meant for your neurologist, not you.

I can appreciate we have a right to see what’s being said about us, but there seems little point when it’s full of medical jargon, with no translation, and serves only to confuse and worry, rather than enlighten. Don’t you have an appointment with your neuro to discuss the significance (or lack of it)?

If it had stopped at the description of the “small focal region of high intensity”, I would think that might be radiologist-speak for something that could be an MS lesion. However, when it goes on to talk about “stable appearances” and “vascular space”, to me that is NOT language usually associated with the appearance of MS lesions - MS is not a vascular condition, and I’ve never heard of lesions being described as either stable or unstable (though they might be described as active or inactive).

My gut reaction (with absolutely no relevant qualification other than having MS) is that they’ve seen something unusual, but it isn’t described in a way that sounds typical of an MS lesion. It’s not even clear if they think it’s medically significant at all - they might possibly have found something that’s been that way since birth, and has no relevance to your symptoms, but your neuro would be the one to explain. You should have a follow-up pending; is that not the case?

If there are no arrangements to discuss it, I think you should take up with your GP what the next steps are.



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No idea. Included in the ‘stickies’ at the top of th ‘New Diagnosis…’ screen you will find Rizzo’s post called ‘A beginner’s guide to the brain and MRI’. Rizzo did this as a layman’s guide to help us to interpret the technical language that our medical advisors use when they are talking doctor-to-doctor.

But many of us (me included) don’t even try to translate the technical short-hand doctor-to-doctor exchanges. It is often best to wait until the neurologist explains what it the report means for you. The radiologist’s report is really aimed at the commissioning specialist, not the patient, and the language reflects that. It’s not my area of expertise, so I prefer not to bother - I find that impenetrable technical language that is about me but not for me just makes me anxious and none the wiser, so I prefer to leave it alone.

Also (and importantly) the radiologist’s report is only part of the picture. The neurologist is the person who has the big picture. It is the neurologist’s job to figure out what that report means for you, taken in the round with everything that he/she knows about you and your history. That’s the conversation that you want to have with the neurologist, I think.



Thank you so much for your reply. I was so confused by this as it made no sense to me. Been with neuro for a year now and its taking a long time to sort through. I currently dont have a follow up appointment as such. The neuro was waiting on my latest mri report to decide whether I need a lumbar puncture or not. Was told if this scan finds anything else then I will get the diagnosis of ms and if nothing significant was found this time then proceed to LP. As its now Christmas week im assuming I will not find anything else out till new year. Thank you so much for your help. Just be easier if they phoned with the answer than this gobbly goop Xxxx

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Wouldn’t it just?

I hope that you get some clarity soon on what happens next.


Thank you very much , I do too. Really hoping they was going to find nothing and I could get the all clear before Christmas (would have been a nice present) Tried my luck at ringing neuro secretary to wrap it all for this year but neuro is on holiday. Wish I went on holiday as much as she does (lucky thing) so report from her hasnt been written up hence the radiologist report. … darn it! This will give me the yay or nay I need and its in latin…well seems like it. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas xxxx

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I think that some of your concerns are bureaucratic.
If you see any sort of a specialist/consultant/etc, they are supposed to copy their report to your GP and to yourself.
The system does not know, or care, whether you understand the report or not - all you have is your copy.
The parietal lobes are the bits at the side of your brain.
There is some evidence that these are concerned with memory, but they do other things as well.
Your consultant will use the written information as a guide to where to first look at the actual scan.
They will probably not stop at this one area, but it is more like the radiologist pointing to a possible area of interest.

Consider that if it was anything serious, the radiologist would have picked up the phone to neurology right away.


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Small focus of high signal intensity will usually mean a lesion and i would imagine being stable it shows no sign of increasing/decreasing in size

Vascular space (definition from Google) -Vascular system is the vessels and tissue that carry or circulate fluids such as blood or lymph or sap through the body of an animal or plant. The space occupied by this is the vascular space. The vascular space together with the interstitial space comprise the extracellular space.

hope all this helps decipher your letter

Thank you so much for all your help. Unfortunately my neuro has been away since my results come in but if it was anything serious I know they would have phoned. So at least I can sleep at night with that news. Kind of hoping it meant absolutely nothing and was just a normal writen thing in a report (although I understand this still could mean absolutely nothing) just have to wait and see what my neuro says. Wish I hadnt seen the report that way I wouldnt be wondering. Was a big hope that it’s all clear and its all just in my head that will go away with some good news. Will be a nervous start to 2015 but I still have high hopes. But everything you have writen has helped and also is very interesting so thank you for taking the time to reply. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and best wishes for the new year xxxx

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My very first MRI i had the report and films as i paid. It said there was a large area of HIGH SIGNAL FOCI in the deep white matter of my brain.

The radiologist said it could have been a demylinating event or it could be my AGE…there you go then lol…I mean really…

My mother spoke to my uncle in Italy who is a radiologist and he said it was more likely demylinating. Usually foci showing for age are found away from deep matter…and are usually low signals.

What it tends to mean is if you have high signals something has gone on, it could be migraines, high blood pressure, and other things.

I too think its nonsense sending out these reports to patients, it causes nothing but worry.

All you can do for now is wait. Its frustrating and they shouldnt do it.

I didn’t know you could get a copy of the scan. I wouldnt even try and see if anything was there, it would just be fascinating to see. Its been a long frustrating wait so far, but surprisingly I have been quite positive about the whole thing. Just wish I hadn’t got this report as was hoping it say all clear. How do you not think about it, trying to not let this ruin my up beat approach. Xxxx

A copy of the scan is useful if you ever need to change hospitals, as in theory they should be able to transfer the data electronically, but I’m not sure how seamless or bureaucratic it is. If you have the scan in your possession, you can just walk in with it, and anyone should be able to read it.

I have mine, and it was very interesting, although I cannot spot the lesions unaided, even after the consultant had pointed them out to me.

I just found it rather amazing that, whilst still living, and without surgery, I can see pictures of my own brain! But for all that, it does look exactly like a giant walnut! Completely unscientific, but true.

My mum: “What does it look like?”

“Like you think: a big walnut!”



Must have been a weird feeling seeing your brain like that. Parts that you think you would never see. Who would I have to ask for a copy of the mri? Been very intrigued to see. Now I know where we get the saying “you’re nuts” from :wink: xxxx

Not sure why but this post came up on my notifications with a new post?