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Doctor insights on: How Good Is An Mri At Finding A Headache Cause

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Dr. Dariush Saghafi
5 doctors shared insights

Mri (Definition)

Mri or magnetic resonance imaging is one of the more recently developed imaging modalities available to physicians. It uses powerful magnets to generate images. There is no ionizing radiation which is a major advantage over many other modalities. Mri is the best imaging exam that we have for most soft tissue and joint related problems. There are radiologists ...Read more


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How fast can a brain aneurysm develop? Is a CT or MRI adequate diagnostic tools? What else could cause daily headaches.

How fast can a brain aneurysm develop? Is a CT or MRI adequate diagnostic tools? What else could cause daily headaches.

Depends on size: Ct or mr angiograms are good screening tools, and surgeons are using cta to plan surgery instead of angiograms. If you have an aneurysm, there is a certain chance that it will grow over time. How fast it grows is not predictable. If you don't have an aneurysm, you should have your doctor look for other reasons for headaches. ...Read more

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What is an abdominal CT good at seeing, and what is an abdominal u/s good at seeing?

CT vs. Ultrasound: A ct is excellent at seeing most pathology of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. An ultrasound is far less expensive, has no radiation involved, and is a great screening tool. An ultrasound is great for detecting gallstones, and kidney related issues, but might lead to a ct or MRI for detecting more obscure pathology. ...Read more

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What is the diagnostic difference between a headache and a migraine? How do you know a headache is a migraine? What is the key clue to a migraine?

What is the diagnostic difference between a headache and a migraine? How do you know a headache is a migraine? What is the key clue to a migraine?

Pattern/course: Migraine are severe intermittent headaches lasting 4 to 72 hours, sometimes unilateral, throbbing, with nausea. There is usually a family histiory and specific trigger factors such as type of food and drink, hunger, smells, lack of sleep etc. ...Read more

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Is it possible to provoke a cluster headache or migraine in a clinical setting to get an accurate dx in a patient? a desperate patient. and treat it

Is it possible to provoke a cluster headache or migraine in a clinical setting to get an accurate dx in a patient?  a desperate patient. and treat it

Headache: Headache, particularly cluster and migraine, can be difficult to treat. It would also be difficult to provoke a headache due to the (sometimes) unpredictable nature of this illness. What may be more helpful is a headache journal, where you can log what triggers (if any) are causing your headache and then review that with your doctor. Best of health to you! ...Read more

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Is it possible for "myelomalacia" read on an MRI to be an MS plaque? What is the difference between such a finding being read as myelomalacia vs. tra

Is it possible for "myelomalacia" read on an MRI to be an MS plaque? What is the difference between such a finding being read as myelomalacia vs. tra

Myelomalacia: is not a specific disease but can result from a variety of factors. Literally "softening of the cord", it is focal decreased size or shrinkage of the cord accompanied by signal abnormality. It is caused by damage or insult to the cord such as from trauma, hemorrhage, vascular insufficiency, etc... In a relatively small percentage of MS cases(usually long standing), it can be present ...Read more

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Is it possible for a c-spine lesion to show up on a non-contrast t-spine MRI (in the initial focus view), or is it always going to be an artifact?

Is it possible for a c-spine lesion to show up on a non-contrast t-spine MRI (in the initial focus view), or is it always going to be an artifact?

Possible..: The T-spine MRI may show the lower C-spine components which are adjacent to the upper T-spine vertebra, so even though this could be an artifact it is not because of the location but rather because of the technique or the image itself. If it needs definition and confirmation a C-spine MRI should be done. ...Read more

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What is cheaper a meg or a MRI with contrast to find a pinched nerve?

What is cheaper a meg or a MRI with contrast to find a pinched nerve?

EMG?: I think you may mean emg. They are not tests that tell you the same thing. So you can't really compare them that way. The MRI will tell you where the problems are anatomically. The EMG gives more physiologic information. ...Read more

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Would an infection of mastoid/ temperol bone-posterior show on a CT scan of the head? Is it possible to mistake it for an old infarction?

Would an infection of mastoid/ temperol bone-posterior show on a CT scan of the head? Is it possible to mistake it for an old infarction?

Mastoiditis: Yes, ct head would show an infection of the mastoid and temporal bone. It is not possible to mistake this for an old infarction of the brain . The two are completely different on imaging. ...Read more

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When a doctor requests an MRI what is the criteria for requesting this test with or without contrast? If a tear is suspected, is contrast best?

When a doctor requests an MRI what is the criteria for requesting this test with or without contrast? If a tear is suspected, is contrast best?

It depends: Contrast injected in a joint can increase the likelihood of identifying a subtle abnormality (e.g., labrum injury, post-op knee) on mri. In many cases, a ligament injury will be visible without the contrast. Factors determining whether contrast is useful (or necessary) include which joint is being imaged, what the suspected injury is and the personal experience/training of the doctors. ...Read more

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Is it common to see a abnormality in a brain MRI and see something not abnormal in an angiogram?

Is it common to see a abnormality in a brain MRI and see something not abnormal in an angiogram?

Sort of: An MRI is very sensitive but not always as specific. It picks up images that appear abnormal. They may require further studies to determine whether it is something of significance. An angiogram may find that what appeared to be a lesion on MRI was not as serious as first thought. ...Read more

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Why would a MRI be better at finding mesothelioma and a ct scan better at lung cancer or is there no difference for the 2?

Why would a MRI be better at finding mesothelioma and a ct scan better at lung cancer or is there no difference for the 2?

There are distinct T: CT scan shows the lungs much better whereas MRI shows the pleural surface much better. Since Mesothelioma starts on the Pleural surface, it is easier to detect it on MRI although CT scan will also pick up most mesotheliomas once they grow to a moderate size. ...Read more

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Would a ct scan be as good as an mri to detect a torn meniscus? where i live there is a ct without a long wait list.6 month MRI wait list is awful.

Would a ct scan be as good as an mri to detect a torn meniscus? where i live  there is a ct without a long wait list.6 month MRI wait list is awful.

No: An MRI ( good quality) is the study of choice for a radiologic diagnosis of meniscus tears.CT scans are helpful to delineate bone detail( fractures esp.) but without an arthrogram prior to the CT they are of little value( in my experience) for dx.of meniscus tears... Try to see a board certified ORS who is an accomplished arthroscopist! Best of Luck! ...Read more

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The MRI shows a lesion noted at the optic nerve and the orth.asked me to get a PET scan to find out more? Is it necesaary?

The MRI shows a lesion noted at the optic nerve and the orth.asked me to get a PET scan to find out more? Is it necesaary?

Not clear on this: Which kind of doctor exactly asked you to get a PET scan? It looks like ORTHOPEDIC. What is an orthopod doing getting an MRI of the head? At any rate, the only reason I can see that getting a PET scan following an MRI for a lesion at the optic nerve would be if there were a suspicion that the lesion were malignant. So, if that's the case then, YES it would be advisable to do it. Otherwise, no. ...Read more

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Would there be treatment for an arachnoid brain cyst (17mm x 18mm) that is causing excruciating pain? What would the treatment most likely be?

Would there be treatment for an arachnoid brain cyst  (17mm x 18mm) that is causing excruciating pain? What would the treatment most likely be?

Diagnosis first: First you have to make 100% sure that the symptoms (pain) are indeed due to the cyst. What if you go after the cyst (surgery?), and then find out that the pain was due to a migraine, and the cyst was just an innocent "bystander", and not the cause of the pain? ...Read more

Dr. Bennett Machanic
4,296 doctors shared insights

Headache (Definition)

The medical term is cephalalgia. It is a feeling of pain that can occur on either both sides or just one side of the head or neck. Headaches can be sharp, dull, or throbbing, and can radiate to different areas of the head. They typically last less than an hour but can ...Read more