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Old 10-10-2012, 02:32 PM   #1
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MRI shows white matter that's "not clinically significant"

I had my first MRI today. I got through it just fine thanks to everyone's advice in my other thread!

My neurologist actually called me already today. I was told I wouldn't hear until early next week. She told me that overall my MRI looked clear, "other than a few spots of white matter that our radiologist said were not clinically significant." She said my 2nd lyme test was negative, but the rest of the tick panel was not back yet, so we would hold off more discussion until then. I asked what the white matter could be, and she said it is hard to say, but possibly an infection, migraines (don't have any), or something unknown at this point. She emphasized again that they are so tiny and not clinically significant.

I'm just not sure what to make of this right now. What makes the white matter clinically significant? If a clear MRI doesn't even completely rule out MS, what does my MRI mean?

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:48 PM   #2
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Re: MRI shows white matter that's "not clinically significant"

Thanks for the update. MS lesions have a certain "shape". Lesions can present in the brain from a viral infection, high fever, etc. Did your neuro read the MRI or did the radiologist read and report the results? My neuro reads the MRI results herself because it is impossible to have a radiologist with MS experience all the time.

The first MRI could also be too early in the whole process. You might need to take another MRI in 6 months or 1 year, especially if your symptoms persist. The MRI should not be considered a specific test for MS either. You want to have all of the tests run to eliminate MS mimicries such as Lyme. I would also ask for a VEP (Visual Evoked Potential). Did your neuro already check for a Babinski reflex (this does not always present on MSers, but is quite often seen when there is a neurological concern).
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Old 10-10-2012, 04:09 PM   #3
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Re: MRI shows white matter that's "not clinically significant"

Emabby,
Congratulations on making it through the MRI! Now, you know what to expect, future ones will be no big deal...
The news is actually good news. As Jayhawk told you, MS lesions are very specific in shape and size- so if the radiologist doesnt think they are clinically significant, that doesnt RULE OUT MS, but it doesnt confirm it either....with some patients, like myself, I have so many clearly marked MS lesions, it was impossible not to say it was MS. I had all the symptoms and my history suggested things in my past which I had ignored..but with patients like yourself, it may take some time for the lesions to show up (they may be too small) or you might be steered in another direction.

Migranes, childhood infections, even brain trauma all leave white spots on the brain; however they do not look like MS lesions...

All you can do at this point is ask for other tests, and repeat the MRI in 6 months (the normal time to repeat) and wait and see...unless you have a symptom which takes you back to the neurologist or Emergency Room, youll be one of the patients who doesnt get quick answers. For that Im sorry, because not knowing is often worse than knowing.....however, not having MS is better than having MS, so maybe this is actually a blessing!

Feel better.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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Re: MRI shows white matter that's "not clinically significant"

Thanks for this very helpful information. My symptoms just began in May of this year, so my neurologist did mention on the phone that we will be waiting to see what happens with my symptoms. Lyme disease was ruled out, so I have no explanation at all for the joint pain, tingling in my arms, legs, and head, muscle weakness, and the sudden onset of occipital and trigeminal neuralgias. I am very relieved it doesn't look like it's MS, but she was hesitant to say on the phone that anything was completely ruled out, especially only 5 months after symptoms began.

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:15 PM   #5
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Re: MRI shows white matter that's "not clinically significant"

With only 5 months into it, it could still be anything. Please do not think "it's not MS". I hope that it is not, but I do not want you to set yourself up for pain and grief. I want you to get healthy. Stay strong because you still have a way to go. We will be here with you and for you!
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Re: MRI shows white matter that's "not clinically significant"

I don't think I could find more supportive and helpful people during this difficult time! I am so appreciative. Thank you for the advice. I think I need to just focus on noticing my symptoms and dealing with them and remain open to it being anything, like you said. At least the tegretol helps with the nerve pain, which is a definite improvement to not having it!

 
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:04 PM   #7
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Re: MRI shows white matter that's "not clinically significant"

Yes, keep focusing on noticing symptoms and working with your doctor. I am glad you have some meds which are working for you!
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