Hi there, I'm not Quix, but I sure have had a lot of MRIs!
I've had the Open MRIs, which aren't very clear, especially the older one that was a .3 Tesla. I've had several closed 1.5T MRIs, which were in the more closed tube. The resolution of the pictures was much better than the Open MRIs.
One time I was sent to a 1.5 that was for "larger" patients, being assured that the resolution was as good as the closed, but was disappointed at the quality, though that could have to do with the software or the technicians.
I have experienced three different 3T MRIs, and the picture quality was astonishingly clear, and showed so much more! The tube did seem to be more roomy at the more recent two times in a 3T machine.
You could call and ask if the resolution of the pictures in this larger 3T is as good as the other ones in more distant locations.
You should probably ask that the MRIs be done under MS Protocol, which means that that the slices they show are thinner and closer together, showing more of what's in there. There's more about that in the Health Pages, if you haven't already read it. :o)
As for the whole spine, you can ask for clarification that your cervical and thoracic spine will be imaged, and perhaps question if they are doing the lumbar, too. My second neuro ordered the whole spine on a 1.5.
Request that it be clear on the orders that the MRIs are to be done w/wo contrast, and before they start the imaging, check with the tech doing the scans, and if there is some question, ask them to call the doctor. They should put an IV in before you even go into the room with the MRI machine, so you'll have a chance to ask/insist.
They did my brain, C and T spine starting at the top, working their way down, injecting the contrast, and imaging back up to my brain. It took a while, but the pictures were awesome.
I have some comparison photos in my mass of photos of my brain about the same area on a 1.5 machine and then on a 3T machine; big difference! If you want to take a look, they're probably around page 5 or 6 of my photos, as I love to take and post pictures.
Best of luck,
Glad to see that you have finally got the ball rolling for a T3 MRI. Best wishes with it all. I am sure that I too have read that closed in better than an open MRI, but I am afraid I am not an expert on all this, so somebody else might be able to help.
If your neurologist put whole spine I imagine then it will be your whole spine. For MS you only need to have your brain, cervical and your thoracic imaged as MS lesions are not found in your lumbar or sacral, but that's even better if you are getting it all done as this will eliminate other causes like compression, caudia equina etc. etc., although from memory your symptoms don't fit spinal at all.
When I had my last MRI they did my lumbar as well but this was just for "me" as I was convinced that I had a back problem that was pinching on nerves that was causing my leg nerve pain, the Neuro didn't really think there was a problem in my lumbar..
As for the contrast they can found lesions without it and if they see lesions then they can give it to you to decide if they are active lesions, the contrast just makes the lesions light up if they are active. Well at least this is my understanding of it all, but I will stand to be corrected as I am not an expert on all this.
Best wishes, let us know when you are going and how you get on. I hope you get some answers and some relief for your symptoms.
If you want to look at the MRI pictures I mentioned, go to my profile page, choose see all photos, and they're actually on page 3.
Thank you everyone.
I am still awaiting to hear from the secretary.
Because my neuro is for private patients, and the 3T is at the public hospital, I'm not allowed to use it, I have to use the one at the private hospital which is only a 1.5.
I asked my neuro for a 3 T so he is going to write a letter to the Dr at the public hospital who does the mri's and ask for me to be seen.
The lady told me today it is a tube, and you lie inside it and both ends are open, so I am presuming it is a closed mri............
It just must be a larger tube, as they use it also for larger patients.
If they won't let me use it, then I will fly to Brisbane, where the other 3T is, I am not bothering to have anymore 1.5's done.
Kathy, I checked out your pics of the 1.5 and 3T mri's, you can sort of see the spots on the 1.5 but they are so much clearer on the 3T for sure.
Did they diagnose you with the 1.5 T images?????????????
Thanks again, will keep you all posted.
I gather your a fellow oz with private health insurance, as far as the rules go, there is nothing stoping you getting a referal to a public hospital, private patients are in public hospitals, the main difference is that private patients get a bill, public patients dont. My dad had insurance all his life, when he got bowel/liver cancer he was at Peter Mac's cancer unit, same dr's, same treatment as the public patients but at the end he was out of pocker by over $20,000. If you get denied access to a public hospital i'd be asking them on what grounds, because if you get a referal they cant refuse you just because you have insurance. I'd be checking this out.
I agree with Supermum, I have private health insurance and I used to see a private neuro, one in private practice and as you prob remember I live in Australia too, my private neuro sent me to both public hospital and private hospital for my MRI. None of them cost me a cent.
Now I go to a neuro who works from a public hospital but I also have gone for MRI in both private and public (I choose who I want to do my MRI and where I want it), in the public system it's free in the private it cost me $120 out of pocket, but I only did that once because the public machine was broken and I didn't want to wait for results. I am glad that it is a closed machine. Where I live they are all T3 and all brand new! So it doesn't matter which one i get. To date I have had 7 or 8 MRI..lol.
If they are doing your entire spine they may require you in two visits as it is a long time to lay still, perhaps they will send you off for an hour and then have you come back on the same day.
In answer to your other question on your other thread, your tongue symptoms could be migraine, so could your funny head sensations you are getting, migraine could cause your pins and needles without the fatigue too? I am not implying it is migraine but this could be another option. Did you ask your neuro if your exam was abnormal?
Best of luck,
keep us posted. Did he ever give you a LP?
I haven't been diagnosed. I see my 4th neurologist (2nd MS Specialist) on October 19. Hopefully he will come up with a diagnosis.
My 3T MRIs were done after my last appt. with my former MS Specialist. I was assertive and asked her some questions, she said if I didn't trust her opinion I could go elsewhere, and discharged me as a patient. It has taken 6 months to get in to see this new doctor, but I hear that he is really excellent; he works in the same clinic that our Quixotic1's neuro did. I would have seen her neuro, but he moved on to another state.
I'm eager to hear what the new neuro has to say about my 3T MRIs, my long list of symptoms, etc.
I'll be interested to hear what your new MRIs show.
you have some great advice here - there is not much I can/should add except there is no way a technician should have the final say into whether you have contrast or not. There is no way during the imaging process that they could really determine the extent of your lesions (or not!). The port for the IV should be inserted before the imaging begins.
The 3T machines they use now remind me of a giant doughnut, and that is technically an open machine. check it out on Siemen's website ... smed.com/openmri/ it has pictures and an explanation.
You should be fine getting this done on the 3T open MRI machine - it is the strength of the magnetic field that is important.
good luck in sorting this out with the doctor and lab,
I second Lulu. You have gotten some good info. While the open MRI has historically been inferior to the closed, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the open systems have improved dramatically.
It would be rare to have the only lesions that show up to be ones that enhance with contrast. However, the MRI for MS Protocol does require that contrast be used. The decision not to use it is purely an economic one.
I still feel strongly that you need imaging of the spinal cord.
Thanks for all your advice, its much appreciated.
The reception rung me today and my neuro has done up the letter and I should find out one way or another next week.
Its a brand new 3T mri machine for the hospital, the other hospital has a 1.5.
Otherwise the nearest 3T machine is 12 hours away for me and I would have to fly down to get it done and with 3 kids at school, and a hubby who works 12 hour shifts, its a lot to organise.
They told me for head and whole spine I will be in the machine for 45 mins to 1 hour, does this sound correct?
I'm afraid that doesn't sound like enough time, unless they have some amazing new software with their new 3T machine. My brain, cervical and thoracic spine took about three hours when I had it done May 30 of this year in a 3T at a large teaching Hospital.
My previous brain and full spine in a 1.5 took less than two hours, I seem to recall.
I believe that the MRI Protocol for MS and its small slices should take more time. The contrast doesn't take long at all, they only run a few more sequences after they inject the contrast, but it does take time.
How about some more input here? How does Melissa check and make sure she's getting all she needs from this MRI? Thank you.
I did ring and ask if they follow ms protocol and was told they do.
I asked if the slices are about 3mm I think it was and she went and asked and come back to the phone and said yes.
I just want to make sure I have the proper look, I have been in limbo since June 2007 now and want to make sure they have a good and proper look so I know I can come away from the scan knowing they had a good and proper look following the ms protocol.
I rung my neuro's office this morning and asked her to make sure it was a brain and whole spine and that it had contrast also.
I just don't want to keep bugging them, I don't want them to get annoyed with me.
If I don't get to lie in the machine for long, I will just lie then when its all over and tell them to keep looking until they find answers, and that I'm not getting out until they do. LOLS
Any advice those will be greatly appreciated.
But she definately told me 45 mins to an hour.......
2 different places told me that.
And my previous mri's I know I wasn't in there for long either, first they did the spine then they took me out, put the thing on my head then did the head, then it was all over.
My 3T MRI of spine & head w & w/out contrast was no longer than 45 minutes - I think it was actually more like 30. I waited in the waiting room longer than the procedure took :)
I had to contain myself from laughing during the procedure since I felt like I was in a giant pin ball machine with all the noises :)
Keep us posted.
Ok thanks for that.
Thats about the lenght of time I will be in there also.
I would still like to know if they are following proper ms protocol, as some other ladies on here have been in for a lot longer.
Any advice Quix????????????????????????