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MRI Contrast Query

Hi, I have just had my 3rd MRI done of brain and cervical spine. The appointment said MRI with contrast. As it was about to start I said “what about the contrast dye?” and was told it will only be used if the radiologist thinks that is is necessary. After the spine was done she said that no contrast was required but it may be needed for brain. Anyway the brain was done and after that she said that no contrast was needed. All I can think of is that there were nothing active as such which is probably a good sign.

Moyna x

I have no idea how they make these decisions so, if anyone ever finds out, I would really like to know!

The only thing I can think of is that more places are using diffusion weighted imaging to look for active lesions, in which case, contrast isn’t necessary. However, this is just a guess.

Someone did once say that they don’t use contrast if the scans are clear, but I have no idea how they can be sure they haven’t missed very new lesions in that case.

It’s a mystery!

Karen x

Hi Karen thanks for your reply. The MRI that I had in 2011 was done privately and the MRI was the latest type - diffusion weighted. The last 2 have been NHS and on both occasions they said that they might need to use dye but never did. There is something on my cervical spine which I am sure has not disappeared. I have appointment with neuro in 3 weeks so hopefully will get answers then.

Moyna x

Hi, I thought i would need a contrast for my brain MRI too so was surprised and a bit concerned when that didn’t happen as i had contrast for a spinal MRI the week before. However I have been made aware that thay have found some areas on my brain but i don’t know what they are yet, will find out today. I will be a bit frustrated if the scans aren’t clear enough because they didn’t use contrast and we have to start over again.

Think another reason might be that the contrast agent Gadolinium is VERY expensive.

So unless it is definitley needed 100% i think they might hold off because of budget constraints.

Hopefully the images will be clear enogh for you neuros anyway, good luck. x