Hey BRO (like the siggie)
I am also a non-contrast person. As you can see from my siggie, I have a very small tumor and it shows up very clearly without contrast. (You can even see the inner structures of the ear with the clarity of the machine.) I did ask my ENT (based on the comments here on the forum) about contrast prior to my first MRI - and similar to your doctor, said it wasn't necessary. This ENT has have great depth of knowledge in AN, surgery and 'watch & wait' protocols (very good LT research) - so his view is valued. The only thing I can think of is the quality/type of the MRI machine (Yardtick and I, both Canadian, and same doctor, same MRI machines at high tech hospitals in Toronto - so we are likely 'one' example, but with very different tumors!)
So, no real help to explain why contrast is the 'gold standard' for the detection of ANs - however, it is not uncommon to have an MRI without the contrast. If I don't have to have a chemical added to my body, and you can still clearly see my small AN - I don't plan on pushing for it. Of note, I have since moved from the Toronto area, and need to connect with a new ENT and a different MRI machine - it will be interesting to find out if the protocol will be contrast here. Since I think it is possible the type/quality/age of the MRI machine may have something to do with the need for the contrast, I guess I won't argue either way.
Good luck on Tuesday (was that today?) - my next MRI should be in July which will be 21 months into my journey - so far, so good.