Question about MRI scans

I had an MRI scan yesterday in one of the newer T3 scanners.

My neuro (or rather the registrar, who was way better than the neuro) requested an MRI of my brain and spine, with contrast. Yesterday I had an MRI of my brain and my neck region, without contrast.

I did ask the radiologist why I he hadn’t given me contrast, as he was loading me into the machine. His reply was that he’d probably be able to see everything clearly without it. When I got home I checked this out, and these T3 scanners are as good if not better than the T1.5 scanners with contrast, and that as the contrast dye can have adverse short term and longer effects, it makes sense to not use them if not needed. Seems a lot of hospitals don’t have T3 scanners yet.

My other question, which I did not ask the radiologist, was why as well as my brain, just my neck bit of the spinal chord was done, and not more of my spine. We had a general chat afterwards as part of the corridor got screened off so I couldn’t leave, and his next patient couldn’t get through, so we were both twiddling our thumbs. He said that the human body can only take so much time being scanned - the MRI scanner subjects the body to a big amount of energy, and what you can take is dependent on body size. I was in the scanner 30 minutes, which was, according to him, quick because I was able to keep really still so he didn’t have to redo any scans. He said with some people who keep moving around, he has to stop scanning, despite not scanning all that was needed, as they’ve had the full time time under the scanner that can be permitted for their body size. Children, who are the wriggliest, can only be there for a short time … so can be quite difficult!

So I’m thinking that perhaps the reason that more of my spine wasn’t done was because of the potential time in the scanner often makes it not possible, so they don’t plan to do it. I’ve noticed that people do seem to have more than one scan session. Just wondering if anyone knows the answer to this? Whether this is a correct surmise?

Also as part of our chat, he said these newer scanners can produce amazingly detailed pictures of the brain, showing all the nerves, blood vessels, and can build up incredible 3D pictures. (He might have been referring to the 7T scanners here.) He said that computers need to catch up - they are limiting factors, as well as the human body’s time limits under the scanner.

I too was also curious as to why my second MRI only included my Brain & C-spine as my first full spine MRI in June showed multiple lesions (the MRI report said 'for example at C4-5, T1-2, T2-3). Unfortunately I felt rather rushed through my first neurologist appointment at the begining of October, as well as being rather upset by his initial belief that I have MS so I didn’t speak up for myself nor ask why he wasn’t checking the whole spine again with contrast? I will though be adding this to my ever increasing list of questions to ask at my next appointment with him in December.

Interesting what your radiologist said about the scanners, I’d always thought they didn’t cause any long lasting issues so I’d presumed their usage was unlimited.

I recently had brain and full spine in a 3T scanner. It took 1 hour 10min. I did not move a muscle because I didn’t want it to take longer lol No contrast, but that was at my insistence. I’m 178cm tall so that makes a difference on timing of course. I did finish the scan with really bad vertigo which lasted a few days and during the brain scan I could feel my eyes tracking behind my eyelids. It was a very weird experience.

If you find it difficult to keep still ask for a foam wedge for under your knees.

I use a pillow under my knees when sleeping now.