MULTIPLE MYELOMA KNOWLEDGE CENTER

MRI & Cat Scans

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan

Myeloma magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are performed to diagnosis multiple myeloma. MRI scans differ from x-rays, in that they use radio waves as well as strong magnets. MRI is generally more sensitive in detecting myeloma lesions compared to skeletal surveys or CT scans. Infiltration and replacement of bone marrow is visualized much more precisely, and new MRI scanners are able to perform whole body scans for this exact purpose. MRIs also offer a key advantage over x-rays: MRIs can identify plasmacytomas, while x-rays cannot. Plasmacytomas are plasma cell tumors that grow within bone marrow or within the axial skeleton.

CAT (Computed Tomography) Scan

A CT scan produces detailed, cross-sectional pictures of the body and it shows any abnormalities or tumors in soft tissues. A computer then combines these pictures into a three-dimensional image. The test can usually help tell if your bones have been damaged by myeloma. Patients may also receive an intravenous line through which dye is injected. The dye helps better outline structures in your body, producing a clearer CT scan. However, intravenous contrast dye is often avoided if it suspected that the patient has myeloma – the dye can damage the kidneys of multiple myeloma patients.

Learn more about multiple myeloma tests and diagnosis in the MMRF Multiple Myeloma Knowledge Center.