Friday, October 02, 2009 Wendy, Community Member, asks

Q: Can I have a normal MRI and still have MS?

I'm still undergoing diagnostic tests for MS. My question is can I have a normal MRI and still have MS?

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Answers (5)
KJ, Community Member
10/ 6/09 5:56pm

The opposite can be true too. I had a positive MRI (multiple lesions, one "enhanced" lesion). I just had a spinal tap that did not show any abnormalities. My neurologist has not completely ruled out MS but doesn't have any other ideas, so I guess it is more "limbo" for me. By the way, the spinal hurt while they were doing it, but I didn't have any pain or headaches afterwards. It really wasn't too bad.


Hang in there,


MWMS, Community Member
10/ 2/09 8:24pm

Let me write about my experience, if it is of any help to you.I had my first attack in 2001 and a relapse 5 months later with a positive MRI.After 2 yrs of avonex, a repeat MRI was reported as normal.Then i had a relapse after 3 yrs with a positive MRI. So, a normal MRI does not rule out MS.

Wendy, Community Member
10/ 2/09 11:03pm

Thank you for the info.  I had my MRI done yesterday and my dr. got my results today and his nurse said it was inconclusive. I hope that doesn't mean a spinal! Frown

Shiela, Community Member
10/ 2/10 1:21pm
Thank you for your answer. Reply
Audra, Community Member
10/ 3/09 4:15pm

You most defnitlley can have MS and have a negative MRI. My neuro believes that sometimes even though you don't see lesions doesn't mean they are not there. You just need to make sure that you see an MS specialist. Sometimes it can take years for the lesions to be visible on an MRI and sometimes it can be the strength of the machine. I had mine done on a 1.5 Telsa but the hospital has a 3 Telsa so next time I'm going to request the strong one, it makes lesions more visible. You may need to have a VEP test and a spinal tap to confirm the diagnosis.



joguinn, Community Member
10/26/09 7:04pm

Comment on spinal taps--the first one I had was a negative experience. So, when I had a repeat I talked with my doc about option. This time I had the test at the imaging center and the procedure was done using floroscopy (spelling/name??) so that the tech could 'see' my spine in order to carefully insert the needle. They also used something to numb the area. And, I had my doc proscribe a tranquilizer for that morning.  The spinal tap was remarkably better--no pain, just a little unpleasant tugging sensation. I can't say I would run to have another one-but I wouldn't be as panicked the next time.

Alice McGreer, Community Member
9/23/11 8:53pm

I started having symptoms this past summer, and when I experienced numbness I went to the er. A few days later I went to my family doctor who referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist examined me, done some tests, told me he thought that I had MS, and set it up for a MRI on my brain. The MRI showed no lesions. He then told me that he thought that I still had it, and now I have to have a MRI on my spine. I've looked on the internet and I have had all the symptoms that go along with MS. It is so aggravating to go to the doctor for answers and still do not have a definite diagnosis.

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By Wendy, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/16/13, First Published: 10/02/09