A Magentic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan is a type of diagnostic tool that uses magnetic fields to let doctors see images of internal organs.
MRI scans play a crucial role in the care of those living with multiple sclerosis (MS). They help with early and accurate MS diagnosis, but also help track MS activity over time by letting doctors see any changes in MS disease activity in the brain or spinal cord.
Based on changes detected on an MRI scan, you and your doctor can make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
There are steps you can take to ensure an optimal MRI.
Recently, Dr. David Li, an expert radiologist and Emeritus Director of the UBC MS/MRI Research Group, recommended two steps that all patients can take when referred for an MRI.
Dr. Li’s full article is available exclusively through the ABY app — a free resource that offers information on topics related to MS, including content written by healthcare professionals.
1 Ask where you’re being referred for the MRI
Although it may not always be possible, ideally all scans should be performed at the same facility with the same MRI equipment and protocol. This helps to ensure a more accurate assessment and interpretation of any differences when looking for changes in disease activity over time.
2 Ask if MRI scans will be performed using a “standardized protocol”
Using a standardized protocol means following the same expert-recommended steps for every MRI for every MS patient. This makes it easier for your doctors to identify MRI changes due to disease activity.
Dr. Li encourages both you and your doctor to feel empowered and advocate for standardized MS MRI protocols, and in particular, recommends that MRI centers become familiar with recently published international consensus recommendations on the use of MRI in MS patients.
These recommendations have been produced by a collaboration between the Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC), the European Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Multiple Sclerosis (MAGNIMS) study group, and the North American Imaging in Multiple Sclerosis (NAIMS) cooperative.
Discuss standardized protocols with your doctor and MRI team, and consider sharing the above link to ensure they are familiar with the recent leading recommendations.
Check your knowledge!
True or false?
MRI centers always use the same protocols by default.
Not true! Protocols can change and may differ between MRI centers as best practices emerge with new research. You can help ensure accurate comparisons between your MRIs over time by checking that your MRIs are conducted with consistent equipment and protocols.
That’s right! Protocols can change and may differ between MRI centers as best practices emerge with new research. You can help ensure accurate comparisons between your MRIs over time by checking that your MRIs are conducted with consistent equipment and protocols.