MRI After Brain Injury Critical for Diagnosis

Who Orders and Reads the MRI After Brain Injury is Critical for Diagnosis

By Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

A critical step for determining severity is the MRI after brain injury, but the experience of the doctor who orders the MRI and reads it is key.

The first imaging test ordered after almost all brain injuries which involve loss of consciousness is the CT scan, not the MRI. CT scans are faster to administer and provide the necessary information to determine whether there is the type of brain emergency that requires surgical intervention. Yet, the MRI shows far greater detail in the brain and information about brain pathology. When the purpose of the imaging study is to understand the pathology more than guide the neurosurgeon, the MRI is the preferred modality.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging / MRI

MRI after concussion.MRI utilizes magnetic fields to image the brain’s tissue, as opposed to the X-ray radiation which is used in the CT scan. The MRI machine is a magnetic tunnel. This can present a real problem with patients that are claustrophobic.

Pros of the MRI over the CT scan:

  • MRI has better resolution than CT scan.
  • MRI is better for Parenchymal Lesions. (Parenchymal Lesions are lesions to the neurons and glial cells of the brain.)
  • MRI has greater value in post acute evaluations.
  • MRI has no ionizing radiation, unlike CT and X-ray.

If the patient coming in for a followup without any signs of a brain surgery issue, the MRI is always the right choice. But people with ongoing brain injury complaints should be given an MRI on machines with the best resolution, preferably a 3.0 Tesla MRI.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

More Posts - Website - 312-767-9383

TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus