MRI with contrast?

My diagnostic roller coaster continues!

Based on MRI that showed many lesions in brain, and symptoms that are not “typical” in terms of history or presentation of someone with MS (other than symmetrical hyperreflexia), I had one neurologist tell me he did suspect MS and another tell me that she did not.

CSF tested negative for O bands, and evoked potentials tests all in normal ranges.

I have to wait 6 months to see an “MS specialist” at St. Michael’s in Toronto, which feels like an eternity and I also worry about that much time passing.

My MRI was not done with contrast, but everything I have read suggests that an MRI of brain and spine with contrast is very helpful as it can show dissemination in both space and time.

At this point, while I am waiting, I am prepared to have an MRI with contrast done privately and seek a second opinion of an MS Specialist privately at the Mellen Centre for MS in Cleveland.

My questions are:

  1. Is it helpful to have an MRI with contrast after having had a “regular” one?

  2. Is it ok to have 2 MRIs with contrast within a few months of eachother?

  3. Other thoughts?



MRI with contrast wasn’t a thing when I was dx in 1999, but I was dx just the same and without much fuss or delay (second relapse arrived just a few months after the first), but then I had MS written all over me from the start, so the job wasn’t a hard one, even before the LP confirmed what we knew already.

Your situation is different, by the sounds of things, and I can well see why you feel that a tool that gives more information on old and new damage might help move things forward for you. The risk is that you spend money on something that might not actually take you much further forward, of course, but you know that already.

Six months to see the MS specialist certainly sounds like an eternity, but it isn’t really. That does sound like an option seriously worth considering - it there’s more to see by then then at least you know; if there isn’t, then happy days!

In the end, of course, it all comes down to what you feel is best for you right now. I don’t think there are any obvious right or wrong answers here.


Hi Sherwin!

Have you seen an MS specialist yet ?

I would urge you to do that as soon as you can- even if you have to pay for it.

All the best,


Contrast is used on low-resolution MRI’s (1.5 Tesla). There is no need for contrast with higher a resolution say 3T.

So ask your Neurologist what resolution your MRI was.


Thanks for response!

No, I haven’t seen an MS Specialist yet because there is a 6 month wait. So I am going ahead with the private clinic in Cleveland, and will hopefully have my appointment in about 2 weeks. Just waiting to hear from them…

Thanks for response! I believe it was T2… Do you know if there is any harm in have 2 MRIs with contrast done within a few months of each other?

Thanks for you input!

I have decided to do both…go privately for now until I can see the MS Specialist closer to home.

Do you know if there is any harm in having 2 MRIs with contrast within a few months of eachother?

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I can’t see any reason why not. Why not phone the MRI team at your local hospital?


Should think there’s no harm at all; the contrast is non-allergic and an MRI is just a very large magnet. Just as a matter of interest; a person with a Pacemaker fitted is not allowed in the same building; the magnet is so powerful it would stop one working.

Can’t have a CT scan too often though; as it uses X-rays to make the slices.