How many MRI's in a year?

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 9/6/2006 11:20 AM (GMT -6)   
I was dx'd in June after bad ON, bad exacerbation, and flunking the VEP 3 times. My first and only Head MRI was taken in April and was not overwhelming, but convincing. My Neuro recently called and wanted an update because I have been on no meds and they are starting to push a bit to get me started on some.

Went for the MRI yesterday and have the films for our appointment later in the week. I compared them with the first one noticed that some things are exactly the same, in the same place, and some are very faint, and there are at least 2 new spots.

Just curious about how many MRI's some of you, that have been dx'd, go through a year? Is there a set amount that doctors like to use?

And some response on the flairs or lesions would help. Do you always see some that are always going to be in the same spot, say for years and years...and others move around...getting faint or reappearing? How many new ones show up.

Obviously this probably differs in everyone. But curiosity is helping me understand more and more about what I have.

As always, thanks for your time and input

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 9/6/2006 12:45 PM (GMT -6)   

Well of course the MRI is a diagnostic tool, not a treatment tool, so I personally don't see the need to have repeated MRI's

EXCEPT in these situations: a) there is some doubt about your diagnosis, and you want to be sure that it's MS, and not some other disease mechanism going on

b) if you start a new treatment plan, it's a good idea to have an MRI when you start, and then one a year or so into the new drug, to see if there are any significant changes (for better or for worse)

and there may be some other distinct reasons...

I had an MRI 14 years ago when I started Betaseron, and then one about 2 years later, after I had a small exacerbation.  That's the last one I had.  When I moved here 9 years ago my family doctor wanted me to see a neuro for a base-line exam. I thought he'd want an MRI, but he was content with seeing my "old" ones. He said something like, " have MS, there really is no question that you have MS; MRI's are very expensive, and all it would tell us is what we already I'm not going to order one.."

As for lesions:  MS-related lesions are much like real estate. The old saying that real estate agents use, when asked about the value of property, is "location! location! location!".

In MS terms: you can have lots of lesions, and if they're in relatively insignificant areas of the brain, they may cause little or no physical damage that you can detect.  Or you can have one or two lesions in a really significant place and you'll suffer a lot of physical disability.  Early in the course of the disease, lesions can seem to "disappear" on an MRI.  But often the damage is already done to the myelin sheath, so you may not experience a decrease in disability. Or this has happened too: someone has died and the autopsy has shown all kinds of MS-related lesions -- but in life they had none of the symptoms of MS. location, location, location.....

And remember, too, that you can have an MRI, be moved out of the machine, be put back in immediately and have another MRI -- and they might well appear different, as the focus is a bit different, you've shifted a bit, your head has moved, whatever.

Obviously -- since I haven't had an MRI in years -- I have no idea whether I have a lot or a few, or whether they've faded or reappeared. For that matter, I've never known how many lesions I've MRI's have only stated things like "...too numerous to delineate..."




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

Sandy C.
Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 129
   Posted 9/6/2006 4:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Uppity had a lot of good things to say! Being recently diagnosed myself I still get at least one MRI done annually. My neuro is still trying to decide bwtn RRMS or SPMS.

I know when I am in a clinically active flare she will state that MRI's are expensive and that I "just had one done" and I am "getting another one soon" through a research study that I participate in.

My first 6 months after diagnosis I had about four MRI's done. The very first one was a general MRI and didn't show MS as my neuro wanted to see it, so she had it done again. The second one was to get a clear view of the MS lesions. The third one was a C-Spine and the fourth one was for the study I am in.
Sandy C.
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis September 2003 currently taking Copaxone SQ QD, Aricept 10 mg PO QD, Welbutrin XL 300mg PO QD, and Provigil 200mg PO BID.

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