Author Topic: MRI Without Contrast  (Read 1022 times)


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MRI Without Contrast
« on: June 13, 2018, 07:40:55 pm »
Went to ENT for bothersome tinnitus in right ear that started a few months ago.  Turns out I have pretty significant hearing loss in that ear as well, especially at the higher frequencies.  I am scheduled to get my MRI on June 18th "to rule out an acoustic neuroma," however, I am mildly allergic to the contrast.  The imaging facility requested a prescription for prednisone and benadryl from my ENT, but rather than prescribe the meds, my ENT changed the MRI request to "no contrast."  I'm thinking that if I'm going to go for the MRI (paying out of pocket) I'd rather have it done right so I'm fighting for the contrast.  Is this a battle worth fighting, or is the MRI still accurate with no contrast? 


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Re: MRI Without Contrast
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 05:29:46 am »
Hi pamela1012 and welcome to this forum,

We are a great group of people made up of patients who have or had an acoustic neuroma, caregivers, or people interested in ANs.  We are not posting as medical professionals.  We share our experiences and opinions, but ultimately each patient must determine what they will do next.

That being said, I am just curious as to what you mean by mildly allergic to the contrast.  An MRI with contrast is the gold standard for finding even a tiny acoustic neuroma.  Larger ANs will show up on a CT scan or MRI without contrast. 

If you are paying out of pocket, I would ask more questions about the danger to you with having the contrast material.  My imaging centers where I have had MRIs always require a Creatnine (kidney function) test prior to the MRIs with contrast.  I have had 12-13 MRIs with contrast and never had an issue, but that is just me.

Best wishes.
Right MVD for trigeminal neuralgia, 1994, Pittsburgh, PA
Left retrosigmoid 2.6 cm AN removal, February, 2008, Duke U
Tumor regrew to 1.3 cm in February, 2011
Translab AN removal, May, 2011 at HEI, Friedman & Schwartz
Oticon Ponto Pro abutment implant at same time; processor added August, 2011


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Re: MRI Without Contrast
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 03:58:30 pm »
HI Pamela and Clarice, I have had over a dozen MRIs all with contrast.  I would be afraid not to for fear the radiologists would miss something.  Always have test to in sure kidneys are fine and after the test plenty of fluids to wash out the contrast which can settle in the kidneys.  Good luck, Joan


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Re: MRI Without Contrast
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2018, 11:08:28 am »
I'd rather have it done right so I'm fighting for the contrast.  Is this a battle worth fighting, or is the MRI still accurate with no contrast?

I had a retrosigmoid in 2014.  A MRI *without* contrast, made  in 2016, did ***not*** show that my vestibular schwannoma was re-growing. But the vestibular shwannoma was re-growing for sure, at that time (2016). Actually a MRI *with contrast*, made in 2018, showed the vestibular scwhannoma  (its volume was already 2,60 cm^3). MRI without contrast are useless.
2014 - at age 65 problems with left ear (tinnitus, imbalances, deafness, short-memory problems, etc).
2014 - MR found VS, 3.5 cm circa.
2014 - Exeresis, in Rome, RS approach,  followed by hydrocephalus ... and shunt.
2018 - AN has regrown, volume is 2.6 cm3.
2018 - GK (Humanitas, Milan)


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Re: MRI Without Contrast
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2018, 04:44:41 pm »
I believe the latest MRI’s are powerful enough to not need contrast to see the tumour. However to identify what type of tumour, contrast is still required. Even very small tumours can be detected down to less than 3mm without contrast
10x5x5mm AN
Sudden Partial hearing loss 5/28/10
Diagnosed 7/4/10
CK 7/27/10
2/21/11 Swelling 13x6x7mm
10/16/11 Hearing returned, balance improved. Feel totally back to normal most days
3/1/12 Sudden Hearing loss, steroids, hearing back.
9/16/13 Life is just like before my AN. ALL Good!


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Re: MRI Without Contrast
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2018, 07:29:12 pm »
The reaction I had was mild itching on my chest.  I honestly wasn't sure if it was due to the contrast or the sweater I happened to be wearing prior to the scans.  Regardless, the ENT refused to budge on doing contrast, so I had the MRI without.  The imaging facility won't send the report for another day or so, but I did request a CD of the scans.  I am nervous about the results, especially because I saw the linked image.  It doesn't look good.  I'm not sure if this link will work.  I tried attaching an image but it won't let me.  :-[


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Re: MRI Without Contrast
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 03:57:21 pm »
We can't open the image, at least I couldn't, but try not to panic until you get the radiologist report.  Evaluating brain MRIs  takes expertise. As for the contrast agent, it is much better to err on the side of safety.  Allergic reactions tend to become more intense with each exposure. In view of the mild itching last time around, they would not want to risk anaphylactic shock on subsequent exposure.  Try to stay calm as worrying only makes things worse. Please let us know how it goes.