Mri with or without contrast

Hello, Those who have lesions identified were they picked up on scan with or without contrast? Has anyone had a clear mri without the conrast but then lesions/inflammation found with conrtrast? Thanks x

Hiya Rosie,

To explain about MRI, contrast only improves the image/resolution and is only used with a basic 1.5 Tesla MRI. These are used mainly in NHS; most private MRI’s are 3 T and above; these have such good resolution contrast is unnecessary.

Please read the sticky above by Rizzo


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Thanks for replying George. So if my scans were clear MS is ruled out as a lesion would have shown up??x

Have you had scans of just the brain or of the spine too? The majority of MS suffers have lesions in their brain but some only have lesions in their spine (could be cervical or thoracic). Some have lesions in brain and spine. I believe (could be wrong) that lumbar spine isn’t often scanned as the spinal cord doesn’t run all the way down and also it’s less likely to have lesions in that area.

Yes i have had both head and spine scanned. My LP showed unmatched oligoclonal bands, just waiting on blood results (ANA,ANCA, ANTI-AQUAPORIN 4 ANTIBODIES). My symptoms are mostly sensory - all started in February this year, 1 episode of optic neuritis, weakness then pins and needles left arm and leg, sensation of hot water going down left leg, neck pain, tingling feeling on abdomen just where ribs end on right side. More recently a feeling of feeling breathless even if am not doing anything, as if i need to catch my breath. I have read alot about tests being done to rule out other causes but cant they rule out MS if there are no lesions seen?x

Rosie our stories so far sound a little similar. I’ve sent you a message x

Sorry for not replying sooner; been a bit busy. Unfortunately, lesions are like any MS symptom and will appear when it wants to. The spine is just a thin; bony; bendy and flexible tube that carries millions of Axons; nerves; plenty of places for a lesion to hide. The brain, on the other hand, is a wide-open expanse; lesions usually do show. Here is a map of the spine Map of Spinal Column where a lesion occurs it is not like a break; the body may find a way around it. There are many people with lesions but do not appear to have anything wrong. Confused; I am and I’m writing it. George

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My uncle is a radiologist living in Italy. He explained to my mother a little about ms and lesions.

basically in the spine you can literally take a film every day and not see one then on the 7th it might show up. It depends where it is located and at what depth etc, and also the strength of the MRI machine. NHS tend to use 1.5.

My neuro said there where at least 2 shown on my spine over time in different areas. One MRI showed nothing, then the next showed a lesion etc. the thing that got me diagnosed was the VEP tests i had one at the beginning positive then MRI and LP, then at the end one more VEP test positive. in between over the years 3 lesions showed up eventually.

My LP was loaded with OB, but my blood test at the same time showed inflammation which means negative for MS. It muddied the waters. the neuro always felt i had 2 things going on.

anyway i did have MRI with contrast that stuff is not nice either i dont recommend it. they found a very bright spot and what did the radiologist say, it was an ARC he felt on the film. My neurologist actually disagreed he said it was a classic lesion in a classic place for MS, but was never counted in my diagnosis because it had been flagged by radiologist.

If you have had ON have you had a VEP test if not you should have.

Thanks for your reply Crazy Chick. I haven’t had the VEP test, i am waiting to find out what happens now. I was kind of hoping that because My MRI of head and neck (without contrast) was clear then MS could be ruled out on this result and therefore look at other possible causes instead. So overall how long did you wait to be formally diagnosed ? 3 years?x

Thanks for the info. I just thought a lesion would show if it was MS and still having symptoms.

Hi TEN YEARS. Longer then a lot of marriages last ha ha. x I did say all along if it was MS it would show itself and it did.

I never worried about it to be honest or think i had MS. My father had Lupus i thought i had that, weirdly i had a positive for it at the beginning but the second test six weeks later was negative. I still think i have something odd going on like Lupus though, but havent got the energy to persue it lol.

Contrast doesnt mean much they usually do it for other diseases not just MS. Lesions are tricky. I have read of people who have had non, then relapsed and had MRI and lesion were seen.

I would not stress to be honest you had ON i take it was officially diagnosed? Mine started with the eyes.

Morning, yeah I went to the opticians and from there referred to opthamology. If only things were more simple.