Q. about MRI and "artifacts"

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sylvie74
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 443
   Posted 4/26/2007 1:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I had an MRI in September, and my neuro told me it was probably not MS, as "there were no spots or dots" on it. Well, I had an episode Monday night, where the entire left side of my body (from foot to scalp) went numb. I was buzzing, too.. I called the Neuro, and at first she suspected stroke, but as I was in the ER waiting, the sensation traveled just slightly over to the right side- ruling that out. Because of that, they did not do any significant testing on me- just some blood work. Could only tell me I'm anemic- but the ER doc did say he really felt it was MS. (I did mention I'm in the process of finding out whether or not I have chronic Lyme, just to cover my bases. He felt that was a good idea).

Well, after following up with the Neuro's office, they want to do another MRI- because (as the nurse practitioner admitted) there was some kind of "artifact" found between the c3 & c4 in my cervical spine, but that at the time they assumed it was nothing. Um, confused (My research leads me to believe that an artifact could just be something weird on the film, and not on/in my body).

I am curious to know if any of you have been told you previously had an "artifact" on your MRI, only later to learn you have actual lesions.. and then were later diagnosed with MS? Or have you had this similar type of experience, at least.. in terms of your MRI? What did you find out the artifact actually was?
(undiagnosed) chronic pain, for nearly 10 yrs and counting..


Denda
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 329
   Posted 4/26/2007 2:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry, I can't help you Sylvie, all of my stuff showed the true buggers (lesions), but I just wanted to say I'm sorry you're getting such mixed signals. It isn't MS, it is MS, it's probably MS. Just wanted to let you know to hang in there and take every test you can to rule it out or in. My neuro, a couple months ago, wasn't too convinced that what I'm experiencing is possible MS since my spinal came back clear, although I have 'spots', however after a 2nd MRI and the progression of some of my sensory/symptom stuff, she told me today, she's really staring to think differently.

Hope you find your answers soon either way! Hang in there.
I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.
  Author: Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), 28th U.S. President


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 4/26/2007 3:31 PM (GMT -7)   
sylvie74 said...
I had an MRI in September, and my neuro told me it was probably not MS, as "there were no spots or dots" on it. Well, I had an episode Monday night, where the entire left side of my body (from foot to scalp) went numb. I was buzzing, too.. I called the Neuro, and at first she suspected stroke, but as I was in the ER waiting, the sensation traveled just slightly over to the right side- ruling that out. Because of that, they did not do any significant testing on me- just some blood work. Could only tell me I'm anemic- but the ER doc did say he really felt it was MS. (I did mention I'm in the process of finding out whether or not I have chronic Lyme, just to cover my bases. He felt that was a good idea).

Well, after following up with the Neuro's office, they want to do another MRI- because (as the nurse practitioner admitted) there was some kind of "artifact" found between the c3 & c4 in my cervical spine, but that at the time they assumed it was nothing. Um, confused (My research leads me to believe that an artifact could just be something weird on the film, and not on/in my body).

I am curious to know if any of you have been told you previously had an "artifact" on your MRI, only later to learn you have actual lesions.. and then were later diagnosed with MS? Or have you had this similar type of experience, at least.. in terms of your MRI? What did you find out the artifact actually was?

MRI's are challenging. Think of them this way: they're like a photograph of your insides. And like any photograph, it's only as good as the photographer, the camera, and the film. And yet another variable with MRI's -- two highly trained, highly skilled doctors can look at the SAME MRI and "see" different things.  One doctor's "artifact" can be another doctor's "lesion". 
 
Combine that with the problem of diagnosing MS: there is no, one, definitive test to diagnose MS, but rather a whole series of things that have to be *excluded* before settling on that diagnosis. 
 
Put those two things together and you get a lot of uncertainty..unless and until there are enough solid signs -- things the doctor can see, test for, things that can be repeated in his office through testing, tests that come back "positive" (and not just stuff the patient reports, no matter how valid that seems to the patient) -- they won't diagnose MS.  Over time, sometimes, things start to appear consistently enough that doctors will commit to a diagnosis. In the meantime, patients go a little bit crazy with the uncertainty.
 
It is probably a good thing to go ahead and get the new MRI. New "artifacts" might appear -- and if they're in the "right place for MS", then they become clearly lesions.  Or the "artifact" that was there last time might not be there any more at all, only adding to the confusion. But given your episode in the ER, all the evidence needs to be collected and hopefully over time an answer will be found.
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


KAS1
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 4/26/2007 4:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sylvie,

I don't have any info to add sorry....just wanted to say I feel your frustration!

Good luck with the MRI.

I hope you get some answers soon!

Kas
Not diagnosed
 
Neuro says he'd "bet on me having MS"
 
IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL...
GO DOWN AND LIGHT THE BLOODY THING!!!


sylvie74
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 443
   Posted 4/27/2007 5:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for your posts. :)

It is beyond frustrating that something like this can take years to diagnose. I know that just because my mom has MS, it doesn't necessarily mean that's what I have. However, I know it is possible- genetics can play a role. (There was an article in my local paper recently, about a couple who both had fathers with MS. And the husband's sister also had MS. Both his father and sister died from complications, I guess. It was heartbreaking to read). I'm just really tired of the BS that goes along with testing. Especially when the doctors start humoring somebody with some of the tests they're running, and doling out meds for pain (that either don't work, or actually hurt the body). Not to mention the cost involved in doing all this. I don't mind having a second MRI done- especially if it shows something not previously there (or heck, maybe the "artifact" will still be there, and they'll have to consider it more than just a mark on the film)- but jeez. They're expensive!! redface I have not had a spinal, and really hope it doesn't come to that. My mom has had at least two of them that I know of. Out of everything I've had done to me, needles in the back is my worst nightmare. sad

Oh.. my MRI showed this artifact between the c3-c4 in the cervical spine. If it's not just an artifact, I hear this is as good a place as any for lesions. Well, I don't necessarily want to have MS, but if I have it, I hope something shows up this time..
(undiagnosed) chronic pain, for nearly 10 yrs and counting..


sylvie74
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 443
   Posted 5/3/2007 7:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Well, my MRI is scheduled for tomorrow night. However, they're only doing the c-spine. Which I guess is ok, because they'll want to see if anything has changed (or stayed the same) from last time. However, what if something were to be found elsewhere- like in the brain?? I'm guessing I'd need another MRI in the future? This is somewhat irritating. :(
(undiagnosed) chronic pain, for nearly 10 yrs and counting..


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 5/3/2007 9:19 AM (GMT -7)   
sylvie74 said...
Well, my MRI is scheduled for tomorrow night. However, they're only doing the c-spine. Which I guess is ok, because they'll want to see if anything has changed (or stayed the same) from last time. However, what if something were to be found elsewhere- like in the brain?? I'm guessing I'd need another MRI in the future? This is somewhat irritating. :(

I'm guessing their doing your spine because they want to see if those "artifacts" found on the spine in the earlier MRI have changed, or increased in number, or if they are more clearly defined with another MRI.  You may or may not need an MRI of the brain, depending on what they might find. 
 
I know that MRI's are very expensive, and while they are the least invasive procedure we have to endure, doctors are pretty particular about scheduling them unless they're pretty sure there is something to be found.
 
Anyway, I hope your MRI goes well tomorrow.
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


sylvie74
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 443
   Posted 5/7/2007 10:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Question.. do dr's usually call you back right away if your MRI shows nothing? confused I posted that mine was Friday.. and while I was gone this morning, my Neuro's office called me and left a message stating they want me to return their phone call. (They're currently out to lunch, so I can't call til 1pm). Honestly, I don't remember them calling me back after my last MRI, but then I had an appointment with their office a week or two later. This time, my next appointment isn't until the end of the month. What do you think?
(undiagnosed) chronic pain, for nearly 10 yrs and counting..


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 5/7/2007 11:13 AM (GMT -7)   
sylvie74 said...
Question.. do dr's usually call you back right away if your MRI shows nothing? confused I posted that mine was Friday.. and while I was gone this morning, my Neuro's office called me and left a message stating they want me to return their phone call. (They're currently out to lunch, so I can't call til 1pm). Honestly, I don't remember them calling me back after my last MRI, but then I had an appointment with their office a week or two later. This time, my next appointment isn't until the end of the month. What do you think?

I'm sorry! I don't wait patiently either.  Guess you're just going to have to wait to call them and see what's going on.  That's a quick return after the MRI.  Whatever the news, at least you've not had to wait long to hear back.

...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


sylvie74
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 443
   Posted 5/7/2007 11:55 AM (GMT -7)   
well, the CNP told me that I have some degeneration in the spine, and they also discovered a tiny mass in the left lobe of the thyroid. So I'm waiting for somebody to schedule me for an ultrasound. JOY! LOL
(undiagnosed) chronic pain, for nearly 10 yrs and counting..


Denda
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 329
   Posted 5/7/2007 12:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Ultrasounds are pretty quick and results come quick too! Hopefully everything comes out ok. What do they think the degeneration is from? Please keep us updated and good luck.
I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.
  Author: Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), 28th U.S. President


sylvie74
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 443
   Posted 5/7/2007 12:55 PM (GMT -7)   
the CNP didn't say much about the degeneration. everybody seems more interested in the mass at this point. i have an ultrasound in 40 minutes. LOL
(undiagnosed) chronic pain, for nearly 10 yrs and counting..


Kimber
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 1852
   Posted 5/7/2007 2:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Sylvie, been following your thread.  Just wanted to wish you luck with everything and I hope it all turns out ok, let us know please. 
 
Co-moderator for Multiple Sclerosis
 
Allow Healing Well to continue to help others, clink link for details

KAS1
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 5/7/2007 2:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Good luck with your ultrasound!
Not diagnosed
 
Neuro says he'd "bet on me having MS"
 
IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL...
GO DOWN AND LIGHT THE BLOODY THING!!!


rhondab
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2146
   Posted 5/7/2007 2:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Sylvie

I've also been following u'r thread and wanted to wish u the best on u'r ultrasound. Please do let us know how everything is with u. Best wishes!!
rhonda
Co-Moderator, MS Forum
 
*~*Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.*~*


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 5/7/2007 6:19 PM (GMT -7)   
sylvie74 said...
well, the CNP told me that I have some degeneration in the spine, and they also discovered a tiny mass in the left lobe of the thyroid. So I'm waiting for somebody to schedule me for an ultrasound. JOY! LOL

Well, ultrasounds aren't so bad...and maybe they can narrow in on what's ailing you. Thyroid problems can look a lot like neurological problems (they're one of the "MS mimics", and what I call "metabolic disorders" as opposed to "neurological disorders.)  So maybe if they can get rid of the mass and check out your thyroid, some of your problems will be helped, too?!
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


sylvie74
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 443
   Posted 5/7/2007 7:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for your nice posts, and well-wishes. :)

I had my ultrasound- that's a breeze. Somewhat fun.. compared to things like being poked with needles. tongue The technician said the dr should get my results in about 3 days.

Yes.. wouldn't it be interesting if the thyroid had something to do with (or was the reason for) all of my problems? I guess I just have to wait and see. :)


-------

skip to 3pm. The Neuro called me back today and I asked her about the degeneration. She said it was more along the lines of an arthritic issue.. not Demyalination (sp?), thus not a lesion.
(undiagnosed) chronic pain, for nearly 10 yrs and counting..

Post Edited (sylvie74) : 5/8/2007 1:13:13 PM (GMT-6)

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