Multiple Sclerosis - MRI Scan
MRI of the brain and spinal cord is one of the most common and preferred method of diagnosing MS (Multiple Sclerosis). MRI scans confirm a diagnosis in over 90 per cent of people with MS.
Facts about MS
- Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system.
- in UK, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed with MS
- The symptoms are normally visible between the age of 20 to 40
- About 75% of the cases are found in women and 25% in men
- Currently there is no cure for MS, however it could be managed by treatments and medication
How is MRI helpful?
- MRI scan detect the damaged areas (lesions) in your brain and the whole spine
- MRI is also helpful in monitoring the growth of MS and can confirm if the treatment is succeeding
What is an MRI Scan?
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to detailed views of the organs, tissues and skeletal system.
- It is a non-invasive way to diagnose body structure and problems by producing high resolution images.
How is MRI Scan different from CT Scan?
- MRI can show clearer differences between normal and abnormal tissue while CT Scans can sometimes provide more details about the hearts, lungs, pelvis, hips, reproductive systems, bladder and gastrointestinal tract.
- MRI Scans are safe and are commonly used for preventive checks.
- MRI Scans does not involves any radiation, while CT Scans involves radiation.
- MRI Scans takes more time than CT Scans and are generally more noisier.
What are the different types of MRI Scanners available?
- 1.5 Tesla MRI - These are conventional MRI machines.
- 3 Tesla MRI ( 3T MRI) - produces higher resolution images, are less noisy and are quicker than 1.5 Tesla MRI.
- Open or Upright MRI - for claustrophobic and bariatric patients. In this MRI machine a patient can stand or sit on a chair while having the Scan.
What is a Contrast?
- Sometimes a referring doctor may suggest a contrast injection that is used to enhance the images.
- Generally the contrast material used has a metal called Gadolinium.
How long does it take to do a MRI Scan?
Usually the Scans take roughly 20 for each body part covered in the Scan. Open/Upright MRI are longer in duration.
How soon are the reports available?
The MRI Scan images are available soon after the Scan. These images are studied by a medical practitioner (Radiologist) and the final report is produced and shared within 2 to 4 days in most cases.
What are the risks and restrictions in MRI Scan?
- There are no know side effects of an MRI Scan.
- The Scans are not painful, but the contrast material can make you feel warm.
- There may be some guidelines about eating and drinking before the Scan.
- Patients are not given contrast if they have poor kidney function or renal impairment.
- Very rarely people may have allergies with the contrast material used.
- Patients who may be pregnant, need to check with their doctors before undergoing an MRI Scan.
- Metallic implants or joints can distort the images.
- Patients with artificial heart valves, pacemakers, metal clips, metal fragments, ear implants, chemotherapy and insulin pumps.
- Open or Upright MRI machines can normally bear weights of up to 400 lbs.