What Does Hyperintensity Mean On An Mri Report?


Asked by MM

What Does Hyperintensity Mean On An Mri Report?


Hyperintensity is a term used in MRI reports to describe how part of an image looks on MRI scan. Most MRIs are in black/white with shades of gray. A hyperintensity is an area that appears lighter in color than the surrounding tissues; a hypointensity would be darker in color. When we're talking about hyperintensities as seen on MRI, in the context of MS, we are talking about  lesions, most commonly white matter lesions.

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. There are a variety of MRI sequences or imaging patterns used (ie. T1, T2 or FLAIR) to highlight or suppress different types of tissue so that abnormalities can be detected.

Hyperintensity on a T2 sequence MRI basically means that the brain tissue in that particular spot differs from the rest of the brain. A bright spot, or hyperintensity, on T2 scan is nonspecific by itself and must be interpreted within clinical context (symptoms, why you had the MRI done in the first place, etc). T2 hyperintensities may occur in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, vasculitis (inflammation of the arteries in the brain), lyme disease. It's important to note that any tissue with a high water or protein content will tend to appear very bright on the T2 sequence.

The FLAIR sequence is used to suppress the hyperintense signal produced by water (or cerebrospinal fluid) in the brain. This is especially helpful when looking for lesions around the brain ventricles (which contain cerebrospinal fluid).