Avatar universal

Is it possible for an MRI without contrast to miss a brain tumour?

Hi, I am 17 years old and since the 6th of February I have been suffering from the following symptoms
Headaches (not constant, quite mild and not necessarily worse in morning)
Head pressure (more annoying than headaches and IS constant)
Many annoying floaters in both eyes that appeared at the same time as the headaches
Feeling sick although probably due to anxiety as I have had no vomiting whatsoever
Just generally feeling out of it
Clicking/crackling noise in ears when swallowing (hard to explain)

I have been to the GP multiple times who has performed neurological exams, lights in eyes etc. I have also had blood tests which came back normal. On top of this I have seen an optician who has done a full eye test, field of vision test and retinal photography. No abnormalities were found. The GP decided to refer me to a neurologist and the appointment is on 5th July. I paid privately for an MRI scan without contrast which I had done on the 1st May which showed no abnormalities. I have also NOT been suffering from any neurological symptoms or seizures which my GP says would be the strongest indication of a brain tumor. I do suffer from twitching muscles however this is not one sided and I doubt it is related.

The summary of the question is basically could that MRI scan have missed a brain tumor as it was done without a contrast injection. The anxiety is just as bad as the symptoms and I was briefly reassured by the MRI until I found out on google that MRI without contrast can miss brain tumors. I will feel much better if someone could tell me if I can stop worrying about a brain tumor or if I need to try and get another MRI with contrast. Damn google :(

One of the primary reasons I am concerned about a brain tumor is that I have floaters in BOTH eyes and I am young which pretty much rules out retinal detachment and from my research I assume suggests a problem secondary to the brain. I am no doctor but this makes sense to me as if the optician could not see any problems in my eye and the floaters are in both eyes surely this suggests the problem is originating from the brain?

Any suggestions of what could be causing the symptoms other than a brain tumor would also be very welcome as I could perhaps bring it up at the neurologist appointment. I am thinking lyme or tmj is possible as I am a long term teeth grinder but the hypochondria in me is jumping to the worst conclusions. I am struggling to go to the gym as much as I used to as well because of this. I used to be active and carefree and this problem came overnight with no warning and has now ruined everything. I have failed all my exams as my attendance at college (UK) dipped to about 40% and I don`t leave the house very often because of it. I know this probably sound ridiculous but I cant seem to get this fear out of my head. I eat a very healthy gym diet and I take multi vitamins daily including magnesium and probably overdose daily on vitamin c tablets because I catch a lot of colds.

Many many thanks in advance.
2 Responses
Avatar universal
The scan is good, and rules it out. MRI sees very well on soft tissue and negative is good news.

I would see a dentist and get a mouth guard for the grinding and work on that. The pressure on the teeth and the muscles can cause immense headaches, so rule that out and work on the grinding. I have worn out several guards myself.

Floaters are a nuisance, but as far as I know benign.
Thank you for the response, it is reassuring. I will be booking a dentist appointment within the next week or so. Its just so hard to believe the doctors when I feel so crap all the time. Seeing that brain tumors can be missed on an mri without contrast is worrying but I guess I should not believe everything I read on google.
Well I've had MRIs before and just recently , I am finding out I could have a pituitary tumor, which causes headaches, you could potentially see an endocrinologist who will tell you , if you need to check your pituitary glands
But try to avoid tests with radiation or radioactive iodine
how did your appointment with the neurologist go? i got a headache suddenly one day almost 10 years ago, and no one could figure out what it was. it took months for me to get in to see the neurologist. i was convinced i had a tumor. after lots of testing ruled everything else out, and because of my symptoms, they determined that i had a very rare type of headache called a new daily persistent headache. there is no cure and it is there all the time, but over the years, we've gotten the meds to make it significantly better. and it helps just to know that it's real and there is a real diagnosis, because a lot of doctors thought i was faking it or doing it to myself (rebound headaches). neurologists are a wealth of information when it comes to weird issues of the head, i have found. :) hope you have found some relief!
Avatar universal

Yes. It is possible as I am living proof.  After a car accident in December of 2014, my pain Doc ordered an MRI on my brain to rule out head injury for the headaches (I took two air bags to the head).  Those results came back normal, with the exception of some white spots on my frontal lobe, which my PCP told me not to worry about.  I won't get into the years of symptoms and the psychiatric therapy I'd put myself in because my PCP had convinced even me that it was all due to Anxiety.  Two weeks ago, I was in the ER and a CT scan incidentally located a tumor in my brain.  The following week, I underwent another brain MRI - this time with and without contrast.  This MRI confirmed the mass, which they believe is a benign meningioma. I was concerned about the size because I believed this thing must have been less than 3 years old, only to learn that the Radiologist compared this MRI to the 2014 MRI, and claimed it WAS there back then and looked "unchanged".  So, yes . . . it is possible.  I have so many mixed feelings about the years of confusion and misdiagnoses (I was also misdiagnosed with Glaucoma this past October as my Optomotrist had no explanation for the stark decrease in my vision).  But I'm glad to finally know that I wasn't crazy.  My symptoms were real, and now I know why. Hope you ride your GP better than I did my PCP.  But it does happen - at least it did to me.
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