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What can MRI NOT show?

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Old 06-02-2010, 02:21 PM   #1
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What can MRI NOT show?

I have a question about MRI for brain/spinal issues. Could anyone tell me what an MRI can NOT show well?
I had MRIs done on brain, cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions lately. They only showed bulging C5-6 disc and narrowing of cervical spine.
I continue to have symptoms of leg rigidity, a "falling" sensation on standing, neuropathy in hands/feet, a headache at base of left skull, and occasional blinking lights in left eye.
I am waiting on results of spinal tap. I'm curious as to what MRI can show well, and what it can't?

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Old 06-02-2010, 05:16 PM   #2
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Re: What can MRI NOT show?

I know both my neurologist and my neurosurgeon use both an MRI and a CT to look at both brain and spine(and an MRA of the brain as well). CT's show bone much better. When I broke my neck, the fractures showed up very clearly on the CT and not at all on the MRI. And when I had my strokes, putting the 2 together, showed very clearly where they were and how they happened(which vessel) even without the MRA.

But.....and this is a strange but......none of them showed an old fracture of my skull but it turned up on an EEG when it was determined that the area of the brain under the electrode had no electrical activity. I had a scar on my head from an accident as a kid that was never treated. The tech had put the electrode directly on top of the now tiny scar. When it showed dead tissue, they sent in a doc who examined my head and moved the electrode around and determined that it was indeed a fracture and a subsequent untreated blood clot had compressed and killed the tissue below.

So sometimes it takes a lot of different tests to get a full picture. And sometimes mothers can be wrong when you get hurt and they're fine.....just get over it.

My 2 cents...............Jenny

Old 06-03-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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Re: What can MRI NOT show?

MRI's, like many other tests, are simply not accurate 100% of the time. I agree with Jenny.

For example, I had tore my rotator cuff, which was picked up by the MRI, what was not picked up was the 1 inch spur that caused it.

My right leg kept giving out, the MRI revealed some previous damage and surgeries to the knee and my ACL was in tact. What it didn't show was that my ACL was completely gone, the elasticity was completely gone.

After my ACL was replaced, my knee got worse. Another MRI revealed nothing, Surgery revealed a hole the size of a quarter just above the kneecap where the kneecap had been tracking wrong.

As mentioned it may take a few different types of tests to fully reveal damage, if any.

I'd wait on the spinal tap to see what that tells you in regards to MS. Have you researched or talked to anyone else about other conditions that cause similar problems? It does sound a lot like MS but do you have any of the other symptoms such as memory loss, heat intolerance etc? I have been told that certain medications can induce MS like symptoms. Are you on any specific medications that may have those types of symptoms? Regalan for instance can cause major problems with rigidity as well as Seroquel etc.

Your doctor is wise in that he/she did a spinal tap, I hope you find answers soon.
No matter how great your illness or pain, there's always someone else who may be worse off.

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