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    Old 09-25-2003, 10:30 PM   #1
    CrazyCatLady
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    Post CT scan vs. MRI

    I recently had a CT scan of the brain that was normal.

    My mother's friend is a neuro ICU nurse for 5 years and I was talking to her about this and my symptoms. She said that she was surprised that they didn't do an MRI instead.

    I asked her if a CT scan could miss anything and she said that a CT scan won't pick up tumors unless they are very large, but an MRI most certainly would. She also said that it didn't matter whether I had contrast or not (which I did).

    She recommended going back to my doctor and asking to have an MRI just to be sure.

    I've been considering going back to the doctor, but I don't want to be a pain in the butt.

    Any opinions on this or does anyone know if one test is better than the other?

    Thanks
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    Old 10-02-2003, 11:31 AM   #2
    Mara
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    Hi~

    Please don't panic and talk to your doctor and have him answer the questions to your satisfaction that your moms friend raised/brought to your attention.

    I had an mri of the brain and they saw something, a lesion 9mm. They sent me for a CT to pinpoint it's location. Both scans were with & without contrast. This lesion was weighted on T2. It showed up in the contrast. There is newer and better technology out there.

    If a medical professional is making this/a recommendation and statements of such, have her back you up,-if she believes that is the case and please do speak to your Doctor about your concerns.

    It is disconcerting the statements some professionals make in the medical community.

    Take Care.

    [This message has been edited by Gemi (edited 10-02-2003).]

     
    Old 10-07-2003, 01:39 PM   #3
    CrazyCatLady
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    Tnanks for replying. I'm not too scared about it. I just recall reading somewhere on this board that someone had an EEG, MRI, and CAT scan and the CAT scan was the only one that came back negative. I've also heard and read that CAT scans are used more for acute injury and they don't "see" the soft tissues of the brain as well as an MRI. I haven't been back to the doctor yet mainly because I don't want to make a big deal out of what could be and probably is nothing.

    Did you say your lesion was in your brain or on your spine? I guess I'm unclear as to what "weighted on T2" means. What were your symptoms? I'm just curious to see what other people's symptoms are.

    Thanks again for replying.
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    Old 10-09-2003, 01:35 PM   #4
    slyJohn
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    i was just lurking around here and thought i could help. CT scans and MRIs have their advantages. i have been having constant pain in my left groin, no diagnosis. But I have been scheduled for a CT scan and MRI of my leg. Well the CT scan was already done with contrast. I got a CT scan to check for a hernia or any masses. Now an MRI can reveal your muscles and nerves as well as masses and everything else. Overall, an MRI is better in detail but a CT scan is easier to see certain areas of the body and can rule out anything serious. CT scans are great for finding masses even very tiny ones, not sure why your mother's friend said otherwise.
    Also one more little note, I had an MRI of my back and something came up on my lower lumbar spine which could not be identified. So I was ordered a CT scan and the CT scan showed just a very tiny cyst in my bone. Nothing serious and probably something I've had my entire life. Anyhow, this shows MRIs and CT scans go hand in hand so it would be nice and more relieving for you to get both tests i suppose.

     
    Old 10-09-2003, 06:00 PM   #5
    CrazyCatLady
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    Thank you for replying. I think your right about having both tests just to make sure.

    My mom's friend was not the only person who has had things to say about CT scans. I have a friend who had a brain tumor removed when she was 13. She started having symptoms when she was 12. They eventually did a CT scan, which was completely normal. Then, a few weeks later, she had an MRI because the symptoms persisted and got worse, and that showed a tumor the size of a golf ball in her frontal lobe.

    Also I specifically saw someone post on these boards, I can't remember who now, who said that her CT scan was totally normal, but her EEG and MRI weren't.

    I'm just trying to talk to other people because I want to try to get some "facts" straight for when I go to the doctor and back myself up as to why I think I should have an MRI. Then again, with the combination of symptoms I've been having, they should send me for one anyway.
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    Old 10-09-2003, 06:41 PM   #6
    slyJohn
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    i think that CT scans and MRIs of the brain is a lot different than that of CT scans and MRIs of the rest of the body. I have seen a neurologist, once 4 years ago and again very recently. I had an MRI both times after I explained my symptoms (twitching), everything is normal; i have only been diagnosed with anxiety. I think you should have had an MRI to begin with. Someone I know had a CT scan of the brain because to check his sinuses since they were bad.

     
    Old 10-09-2003, 07:12 PM   #7
    CrazyCatLady
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    A good friend of mine had a CT of the brain to check for sinus problems and she was surprised about that. I guess she thought a CT of the brain was too "extreme" to check her sinuses, but maybe that's the only way, or one of the only ways, to see them.

    My mom's friend said the same thing you said that I should have had an MRI to begin with.

    Maybe they had me go for a CT scan because, at the time, my symptoms were more sudden and not so long lasting, but now they are persistent and some are worsening.

    Thank you all for replying. I really appreciate it.
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    Old 10-09-2003, 07:53 PM   #8
    nebulous
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    An MRI is superior to a cat-scan in the identification of brain lesions. I have a brain tumor, and I go in for regular MRIs. It is best to do the MRI with and without contrast, and a closed MRI is better than an open one. The only problem is that MRIs are more expensive than cat-scans, which is why some insurance companies prefer to authorize cat-scans instead. I have corresponded with many tumor patients, and I have heard quite often about cat-scans failing to detect tumors.

     
    Old 10-09-2003, 08:50 PM   #9
    CrazyCatLady
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    I'm a medical transcriptionist, which just means that I type medical documents from dictation, so I know about the insurance having to authorize for an MRI.

    I've read about closed and open MRIs and the closed ones being much better. The CT scan was no big deal except it felt weird when the contrast was administered.

    I wonder if they'd have to authorize for an MRI with Medicaid. I wonder what criteria they go by...
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    Old 10-09-2003, 08:57 PM   #10
    slyJohn
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    well.. good luck with getting the MRI. what are your symptoms anyhow? i haven't had trouble getting MRIs in the past with my insurance. Well, I did somewhat with my back. At first they only wanted to do the cervical spine but we got them to do my whole back. i guess with my mom working at the hospital helps.

     
    Old 10-12-2003, 05:53 PM   #11
    cmomson
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    i had a ct scan performed when i had to go to er due to severe headache. ct scan came back all clear but headache never went away and meds didnt help so neurologist ordered mri with contrast and boom! pit tumor (3 mm in size) AND an arachnoid cyst about the size of a quarter. I asked brain tumor spec about the cyst because i needed to know more and he suggested that nuerolofist should have explained all to me but neurologist didnt even look at that particular film. he only looked at the film where the pit tumor was circled in red. out of perhaps 8 films, he only looked at one!guess he was just in a hurry to see as many patients as he could on that day and shoed me of to spec. oh well. needless to say that i will not be seeing him anymore and i would not recommend him if i had to. i feel that mri is better than ct scan. i will continue to have mris every 6 months to check on progress or lack of of the tumor and cyst.
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    Old 10-18-2003, 03:18 PM   #12
    dallard21
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    i think that an mri can detect whatever is wrong better than a ct scan....for example my son was having problems developing so his pediatrician ordered a ct scan the ct scan came back showing that there was nothing wrong with his brain we then took him to a neurologist b/c he was still having problems...the neurologist ordered an mri which came back showing that the front part of his brain has stopped developing we still do not know what caused this or what his exact diagnosis is but b/c of the mri we are one step closer so you should get the mri done it will tell you more than a ct scan...i know this from experience...good luck

     
    Old 10-18-2003, 06:07 PM   #13
    CrazyCatLady
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    Thanks to everyone for replying. It seems that MRIs are better than CT scans in detecting certain things. I think i'll be looking into that soon.

    I go to a chiropractor for my neck and lower back, but the adjustment to my neck didn't seem to help with what's been going on.

    I've been having headaches that tend to be in the same place. They're kind of a pressure/fullness feeling and are kind of throbbing. They get worse when I lie down. They are not migraines. I used to get migraines when I was younger from food sensitivities. These headaches aren't nearly as bad.

    I also recently have been having spots in my vision. They started out as small and not occuring much. Now they're popping up more frequently and are bigger. They're glittery & bright, not black spots. These don't seem to be related to the headaches.

    I started to have the occasional muscle twitch and in the last few months that has progressed to an occasional single jerk of an arm or leg or twitching of strange places: tongue, face, bottoms of feet, inner ears, etc. I also have been having sensations of very localized tingling in my face, arms, hands, and sometimes a sensation that I'm actually being touched when I'm not. The tingling feels like it's "floating" just above my skin.

    I generally feel mentally foggy and forgetful, which is unusual for me. I've always had a very good memory. I'm more tired than usual and I sometimes have a hard time doing my job, which requires typing. The problem is, sometimes when I'm typing, I start typing things backwards. I think I've typed something right and I look at it later and it's totally messed up. It happens rarely and I can still do my job, but it has me concerned. I don't feel like I'm as nentally acute as I was just a few months ago.

    I had blood taken in the beginning of September to test for arthritis because of ankle pain. It came back normal except for positive ANA. I'm not anemic. I don't mean to sound negative, but I almost wish I was anemic because it would explain a lot of what I've been feeling AND it's easy to fix.

    I have a very positive family history of brain & spinal cord tumors, so I should probably get checked out more thoroughly rather than just assume my symptoms will go away on their own.
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    Old 12-27-2003, 06:53 AM   #14
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    Re: CT scan vs. MRI

    cat lady, have read through these pages of posts ,the CT vs MRI.From what I have experienced just in the last two years(6 MRIs and 2 CTs)depending on just what is being looked for, one is preferable over the other. MRIs seem to pick up on softer tissue type formations and CT scans give a much better picture of more solid type structures, like bone for instance. I was most intrigued though by the last paragraph in your last post where you mentioned that your family has a history of brain and spinal cord tumors.What type of "tumors" run in your family?I am curious about this as I just recently had to have what is called a cavernous hemangioma or angioma ,removed from the inside of my spinal cord at the C-7-T-1 level.you can get these types of malformations in either the brain or spinal cord.There are also what are called arterial venous malformations(AVMs) that can be found in those same areas as well.What really caught my attention when you mentioned the familial aspect is that these malformations can be hereditary and one person can have several of these in both the spinal cord and the brain at the same time.Both formations show up rather well on an MRI.Mine was actually first detected on MRI when I had one done to pinpoint just what disc I had herniated.I was quite shocked to find out that I had this.As far as I know, I only have one,or had one.I still have ten percent of it left in the cord as during surgery they hit a nerve and lost it on the monitor so they cut there losses and backed on out of my cord as to stay in and try to remove that last10% would have caused even more devistating nerve damage.Do you recall ever hearing either one of those particular descriptions used when your family was discussing the tumors? I think you definitely need an MRI of the brain and the C-spine and upper thoracic.These are the most likely places that these little guys like to hang out at.From your symptom descriptions it sounds to me that you may have one of these in your brain.The AVM is the most likely culprit.Have you heard anyone in your family use the description of 'a clump of worms" in mentioning what the surgeon said this tumor looked like? If so, it was an AVM.AVMs are basically a big tangle of arteries that for some unknown reason ,just form in the brain.I would really be interested in hearing a little more detail regarding your situation ,if you don't mind.Hope things are going okay for you.take care. Marcia
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    Old 12-29-2003, 01:56 AM   #15
    CrazyCatLady
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    Re: CT scan vs. MRI

    WOW! I thought this thread was dead!

    It sounds like you've been through a lot with finding out what exactly was going on. I'm a medical transcriptionist and I type the kinds of surgery you've had all the time. I've also transcribed a lot of the patients' run-around with diagnostics and not finding a dx for too long.

    My uncle had a neuroblastoma and as for the other tumors, I don't know. I've never heard anyone in my family describe them.

    I see a neurologist this Friday, 01/02/04, so hopefully I'll get somewhere this time!

    I have another (very long) thread titled Plz Share Vision Problems. That's where I've posted the majority of my updates, so you can follow along there if you want.

    Thanks for responding!

     
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