13 doctors weighed in:

Could I have multiple sclerosis even if my MRI was normal? I have a lot of the symptoms (muscle spasm, weakness, tingling down my back and legs), but my MRI didn’t show anything. Can an MRI miss ms?

13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Becky Parks
Neurology
8 doctors agree

In brief: Typically not

Mri is the most sensitive test available to aid in the diagnosis of ms.
While there are rare cases of MRI negative ms, the vast, vast, vast majority of patients with ms have MRI abnormalities. Having said that, given your symptoms it would be important to know if the cervical and thoracic spinal cord were imaged. If brain and spinal cord imaging negative then not likely to be ms.

In brief: Typically not

Mri is the most sensitive test available to aid in the diagnosis of ms.
While there are rare cases of MRI negative ms, the vast, vast, vast majority of patients with ms have MRI abnormalities. Having said that, given your symptoms it would be important to know if the cervical and thoracic spinal cord were imaged. If brain and spinal cord imaging negative then not likely to be ms.
Dr. Becky Parks
Dr. Becky Parks
Thank
2 doctors agree

In brief: Complex

Usually MRI shows lesions if MS is answer, but on occasion need both images of brain and spinal cord.
Sometimes, B-12 deficiency, Lyme disease, lupus, and other disorders can masquerade, so, please have these possibilities checked to be thorough. On occasion, a spinal tap may be very useful.

In brief: Complex

Usually MRI shows lesions if MS is answer, but on occasion need both images of brain and spinal cord.
Sometimes, B-12 deficiency, Lyme disease, lupus, and other disorders can masquerade, so, please have these possibilities checked to be thorough. On occasion, a spinal tap may be very useful.
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Thank
Dr. Diane Minich
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Unlikey but

also possible so see a neurologist who specializes in ms to be evaluated

In brief: Unlikey but

also possible so see a neurologist who specializes in ms to be evaluated
Dr. Diane Minich
Dr. Diane Minich
Thank
Dr. Djamchid Lotfi
Neurology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Unlikely!

The symptoms you are describing do not sound like symptoms of ms however it is possible to have an attack of ms such as optic neuritis and have a normal mri.

In brief: Unlikely!

The symptoms you are describing do not sound like symptoms of ms however it is possible to have an attack of ms such as optic neuritis and have a normal mri.
Dr. Djamchid Lotfi
Dr. Djamchid Lotfi
Thank
Dr. Pavle Repovic
Neurology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: This

This is very, very tricky.
Yes, there are reported cases of mri-negative ms, but they are very rare, so it is paramount to rule out other conditions. It also helps if you get your MRI done on a 3 tesla magnet, which provides higher resolution and better detail than lower strength magnets.

In brief: This

This is very, very tricky.
Yes, there are reported cases of mri-negative ms, but they are very rare, so it is paramount to rule out other conditions. It also helps if you get your MRI done on a 3 tesla magnet, which provides higher resolution and better detail than lower strength magnets.
Dr. Pavle Repovic
Dr. Pavle Repovic
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Eric Weisman
Board Certified, Neurology
32 years in practice
9M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors