To look at images or not?

Hi, I’ve been hanging about here for a few weeks but have only just registered. It feels odd joining up without knowing if I have MS or not. I had my neurology appointment and MRI last Wednesday and am going back for the results this Wednesday. The Dr gave me a prescription for steriods to take if or when he contacts me so I’m taking the fact I havent heard anything from him as a good sign. The disc of images from my MRI arrived with me yesterday and I’m having constant arguments with myself over whether or not to look at it. I did open it for a second yesterday, saw 4 images and shut it all down in a blind panic - I’m worried to look at something I have no idea about but the temptation is so strong. Really, I want someone from here who is more knowledgable about this sort of thing to tell me to leave it alone, sit tight and wait until Wednesday! I know its the sensible thing to do but I’m not known for my sensibility!

don’t fret about it.

fretting only makes you feel worse.

i had the CCSVI procedure done about 6 years ago and the discs from that were ace!

proper funky like lava lamps.

yea i could have worried but there were no prizes for understanding it.

so if you do have a look, act as though you were in a gallery.

or a disco… hee hee laughing at the thought of me dancing!

good look, i wish you the outcome that you wish for.

carole x

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Hiya Templewater,

First let me take you through MRIs. They take images every say 1mm to 5mm which builds a picture of the internal part of your body; in your case the Central Nervous System using Magnetism. As a matter of interest a CT scan uses the same method only problem is it uses X-Rays to image.

I would say don’t be afraid of looking but you do not know what you’re looking at so probably would invent some weird and wonderful things; I think anyone would.

What would be interesting and something you could ask your Neuro is how many images you have. A large lesion is about 4mm so if you have 20 images; being the average size of brain is 16 CM it is possible; but unlikely; that an image is in-between slices so does not show up.

The resolution varies from 1.5 Tesla; which are most NHS machines to I think there are some 6 Tesla machines; obviously the higher Tesla the more sharper; better image.

Last but by no means least please look at Rizzo’s excellent post

Stop working yourself into a lather; good luck.


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I’m really interested in how you get your scans sent to you, but to address your actual question:

If you want to look because you think you might see something that will tell you if you have MS or not, then don’t. You won’t be able to tell.

MS isn’t just about having high intensity spots on your MRI, it’s about where those spots are. My consultants wouldn’t dx MS even on the basis of the MRI reports, they needed to see the scans themselves. Pretty much the only thing Neurologists do is diagnose, it requires a lot of experience and training.

If you want to look out of interest, then yes, it is fascinating, but if I were you, I would wait until you’ve had them explained to you.

Let us know how you get on,


The last time I was sent scan pictures was in the 1990s, and to look at them I would have needed a light-box because they are about 2’ square and are probably still under the spare bed in their big X-ray envelope. So there was no temptation. Had I been able to view them on-screen, would I have done so, even knowing that I didn’t know what to look for or even what was good and what was bad? Almost certainly!

You know what you get most stressed about. Maybe it would be a good idea for you to have a look at them and maybe it would be better for you to leave them alone. There are no right answers, and you know yourself better than any of us. For what it’s worth, my guess is that it doesn’t matter too much one way or the other. The experts will see what the experts will see, regardless of whether you have looked or not. So just do whatever you think will help you to stay calm at a worrying time.

Good luck with your consultation.


Thanks everyone, in the end I had to look - knowing they were sitting there was driving me crazy! I had no idea what was good or bad but I didnt see anything that panicked me, so that was a relief. I only have to wait until tomorrow now to see the neurologist so hopefully I will have some answers then. I’ve no idea what answer I want tomorrow, I obviously don’t want MS but I would love an answer to my symptoms - I’m sure most of you here know exactly what I mean. Pip, I got my images sent directly to me after my MRI as I went private. I dont know what the waiting lists are like for Neurologists anywhere else but here in Northern Ireland the wait is over 2 years for an initial consultation. Luckily we have a basic health insurance that can speed things up, we had been talking about cancelling it earlier in the year to save a bit of money and I’m so glad now we didn’t!

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