Deciphering doctors words!

Hello All

This will be a very simple question for some of you I’m sure. I’ve had my MRI results which show two lesions and “high signal right orbit” - OK I know that is the eye, but what does “high signal” actually mean?

I had optic neuritis which was my presenting symptom, no diagnosis yet of course but high chance says my super neurologist.

Thanks very much


Hi Sam, I don’t know what it means either… but read the sticky at top of page ‘A brief beginners guide to brain and MRI’ written by Rizzo. Lots of info there.

Pat x

Please do read it (it took me a while to write!), but “high signal” simply means an area that is brighter than expected. This usually (but not always) indicates an abnormality.

Different types of brain matter give off different strength signals in different types of scan. The computer translates those signals into images with high signal becoming bright/white on the image and low signal becoming dark/black. In a T2 scan, a lesion gives off a high signal and therefore shows up as a brighter area on the image. Radiologists refer to this in a variety of ways including high signal, hyperintensity, hyperintense area, etc.


Karen x