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Old 12-06-2009, 01:37 PM   #1
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MRI with or without Contrast?

Hi. Can someone please tell me what the difference is in a MRI with contrast and one without?

I've a couple without contrast from different places and they seem to say different things. I'm wondering if maybe a MRI with Contrast will show everything going on in, around and out of the spine.

Does anyone know?

As always, any advice, suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

 
Old 12-07-2009, 09:23 AM   #2
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Re: MRI with or without Contrast?

as you have found out already the mere fact that your contrasted vs non contrasted pics show different things, THAT is the reason the contrasted just really does a much better job in 'highlighting' certain findings that could be somewhat hidden from normal MRI view. they will usually do one set of MRIs without the contrast then add the contrast and do another,then they kind of 'compare' what just looks a bit different upon one set vs the other. this comparrison just allows the rad to really see subtle changes or differences with it vs without it kind of thing? doing MRIs using the contrast just really does help alot in better defining areas of possible issues that either don't show up at all or just barely without it.

one other thing that any contrast just does when its for any level of MRI, espescially within the brain area is it 'lights up' all ofthe arterial structures(it does this in the spinal too) alot which can find certain possible issues of a vascular nature that may not be seen upon plain MRI either. that happend actually with my brain aneurysm. it did NOT show at all on the non contrasted MRI i had on my brain? but since i have a kidney disease, i could not use the dang contrast. but i was having such wierd symptoms that my wonderful NS just sent me for the telling MRA(this only highlights all arteries within the brain and NOTHING else shows up BUT the arteries) and also what is called a 3 tesla scan that uses three times the actual magnetism of the standard MRI, and bingo, it showed right up on both scans right in the very deep area of the left cerebellar artery up against my brainstem. it was at the bend of an artery so thats why it did not show itself upon plain MRI. if i had been able to actually have contrast, it more than likely would have since it would have lit up the arteries and the aneurysm too within the brain.

thats probably alot more than you really wanted to know about contrast, sorry. BUT, it just does give that much better looksee with it than without it. and when used in the comparritive sense that they do this with and without, it can show a ton more than a plain MRI can. i just do not understand really why alot of ordering docs don't automatically chose the contrast. it is far superior for alot of findings to just show themselves. the only people who should not actually have contrast are those with a kidney disease or when they test your potassium and creatinine(this should ALWAYS be done before any contrast is given since some people do not even know they have a kidney disease at all?)if it is out of range they will not use it. people who have had reactions to shellfish too should know about other types of contrast they can use too. there just are many differnt types of contrasting agents out there now. marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:39 AM   #3
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Re: MRI with or without Contrast?

Wow. Thanks Marcia! I really appreciate the info. I'm sorry to hear about your aneurysm. I sure hope you're feeling better!?

I'm going to ask my PM to order me a MRI w/contrast. This is my body and I think I know when something doesn't feel right. I was a little surprised when you mentioned potassium in your post. Last August, I was hospitalized overnight and one of the test they ran came back that I was low. I remember making a joke about I needed to eat more bananas. (Guess I shouldn't of done that.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by feelbad View Post
as you have found out already the mere fact that your contrasted vs non contrasted pics show different things, THAT is the reason the contrasted just really does a much better job in 'highlighting' certain findings that could be somewhat hidden from normal MRI view. they will usually do one set of MRIs without the contrast then add the contrast and do another,then they kind of 'compare' what just looks a bit different upon one set vs the other. this comparrison just allows the rad to really see subtle changes or differences with it vs without it kind of thing? doing MRIs using the contrast just really does help alot in better defining areas of possible issues that either don't show up at all or just barely without it.

one other thing that any contrast just does when its for any level of MRI, espescially within the brain area is it 'lights up' all ofthe arterial structures(it does this in the spinal too) alot which can find certain possible issues of a vascular nature that may not be seen upon plain MRI either. that happend actually with my brain aneurysm. it did NOT show at all on the non contrasted MRI i had on my brain? but since i have a kidney disease, i could not use the dang contrast. but i was having such wierd symptoms that my wonderful NS just sent me for the telling MRA(this only highlights all arteries within the brain and NOTHING else shows up BUT the arteries) and also what is called a 3 tesla scan that uses three times the actual magnetism of the standard MRI, and bingo, it showed right up on both scans right in the very deep area of the left cerebellar artery up against my brainstem. it was at the bend of an artery so thats why it did not show itself upon plain MRI. if i had been able to actually have contrast, it more than likely would have since it would have lit up the arteries and the aneurysm too within the brain.

thats probably alot more than you really wanted to know about contrast, sorry. BUT, it just does give that much better looksee with it than without it. and when used in the comparritive sense that they do this with and without, it can show a ton more than a plain MRI can. i just do not understand really why alot of ordering docs don't automatically chose the contrast. it is far superior for alot of findings to just show themselves. the only people who should not actually have contrast are those with a kidney disease or when they test your potassium and creatinine(this should ALWAYS be done before any contrast is given since some people do not even know they have a kidney disease at all?)if it is out of range they will not use it. people who have had reactions to shellfish too should know about other types of contrast they can use too. there just are many differnt types of contrasting agents out there now. marcia

 
Old 12-08-2009, 05:51 AM   #4
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Re: MRI with or without Contrast?

Does MRI with contrast show soft tissue damage?.

I was just wondering. a year ago I had an MRI without contrast cause the technician over there said I don't need to have a contrast they see just fine. Was he wrong?.

What else could it be beside bulging disks.
I need some advice also. thanks.

 
Old 12-12-2009, 09:48 AM   #5
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Re: MRI with or without Contrast?

I am no expert but I can tell you my wife would not be here now if the first 2 MRIs were not followed by one with contrast. The last one showed the spindle cell cancer growing along her spine that is causing her to lose the use of her legs and also giving her some incontinence. Definately get an MRI with contrast.

 
Old 12-13-2009, 10:36 AM   #6
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Re: MRI with or without Contrast?

I'm trying to get one. I go back to PM this week. Very irritable today. Thank you Rick and my best to you and your wife.

 
Old 12-14-2009, 10:02 AM   #7
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Re: MRI with or without Contrast?

Contrast is always better.

 
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