MRI with contrast

Posted by amywood20 @amywood20, Tue, Oct 15 4:00pm

On average, how often do MRIs with contrast miss things? I had one done on my left shoulder and it just showed a low grade partial tear of the infraspinatus. No other tears or anything noteworthy. Issues are in the left upper back near shoulder blade and occasionally weird feeling near the armpit/pec area, along with hand tingles. Also get some hand tingles in the other hand but not as bad or frequent. I have a C5-C6 disc issue, which that area of the c-spine innervates the infraspinatus, making this all so confusing. I see a spine doc on the 4th. I did send my shoulder MRI with contrast to Mayo to have them read it in case something was missed by the local radiologist. They should receive it tomorrow. But…I am wondering if a second MRI with contrast should be done at a different imaging facility than the original one in case the machine missed something. I am hoping this issue is not a shoulder problem, as I already have a full thickness tear in the other shoulder that needs fixed after the holidays. The way the left shoulder feels is nothing like that one. The discomfort near the shoulder blade and weirdness is much worse. Aches when lying on my back but that's the only way I can really sleep. Shoulder doc isn't convinced it's a shoulder issue, same with the physical therapists. They suspect neck. I can't help get that idea out of my head though since that used to be my bad shoulder. I was shocked when the other one showed a full thickness tear. I would never have guessed it. When I was at Mayo for my PKD/PLD the first of the month I was able to see someone in the physical rehabilitation department. She looked at my cervical spine MRI and did in office tests. She could not pin point the issue either. She suggested I have an EMG and then additional possible other steps would be a cortisone injection into the shoulder (had that done once back home and it did not help), trigger point injection, etc. I imagine the spine doc I see soon will want the EMG as well. For the hand tingles. the Mayo doc said it could be a separate issue, possibly carpal tunnel. The area of tingle does not really follow that though. Anyway, long way to bring it back to my original question…should I find comfort in the shoulder MRI with contrast I had done or, if the spine doc can't find a correlation to my C5-C6 issue and the shoulder, do I ask for a new shoulder MRI with contrast but at a different facility? Thanks for letting my share my exhaustive story. The unknown and waiting to see the spine doc (2 ½ months) is draining and causing anxiety.

@amywood20 I’m assuming you’re a Mayo patient since you sent your MRI to them to read. After they read it and send you their interpretation that would be the best place to ask your questions about any doubts you may have about what and how much an MRI will read.
Best of luck to you.

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@bonnieh218

@amywood20 I’m assuming you’re a Mayo patient since you sent your MRI to them to read. After they read it and send you their interpretation that would be the best place to ask your questions about any doubts you may have about what and how much an MRI will read.
Best of luck to you.

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Yes, I am a patient. First trip there was the first of the month for my PKD/PLD. I happened to bring my spine MRI in the hopes of meeting with someone while I was there. I kick myself for not having my shoulder MRI with me, but at the time I didn't have a copy. Once back home I picked up a copy and contacted the doctor at Mayo I saw to see about sending it for review. If imagine if I could stay in Rochester for a week or two the wonderful specialists there could figure out my issues. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that.

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For what it’s worth, I had a shoulder MRI with contrast done at Mayo about two years ago. The results were the exact same as yours…same wording. I have had issues with my cervical spine and had surgery this past April to fuse some of the cervical vertebrae. The shoulder pain is gone. I know that people are different so your issues may not be the same as mine. The EMG can be really helpful in terms of diagnoses.
Good luck…keep us posted.

P.S. Will your insurance company pay for a second MRI with contrast?

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@bernese53

For what it’s worth, I had a shoulder MRI with contrast done at Mayo about two years ago. The results were the exact same as yours…same wording. I have had issues with my cervical spine and had surgery this past April to fuse some of the cervical vertebrae. The shoulder pain is gone. I know that people are different so your issues may not be the same as mine. The EMG can be really helpful in terms of diagnoses.
Good luck…keep us posted.

P.S. Will your insurance company pay for a second MRI with contrast?

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Congrats on finding the exact problem and getting a solution that helped! As far as insurance covering it, I have Tricare and called them about it this morning. They are all for second opinions which is why I am able to send the current MRI to Mayo to have their experts review. Since I have Tricare Select (not Prime) I do not need preauthorization for getting a MRI. But, I do need a doctor to say it is needed and why. I suppose they would have to word it as such to show why the first one isn't sufficient. I don't know how picky Tricare would be about that and it is possible they would say no. I just need to know what is going on so I can move forward. I really want to get the right shoulder operated on in January…well I don't want the surgery but since it's a full thickness tear that has started to retract I have to. Like I told the doctor I saw at Mayo, there is no way I would have that surgery until the left situation is resolved. I will need that shoulder/hand/etc to be good since it will be all I will have to use for quite some time. Luckily, the full tear isn't terribly painful. The front of the shoulder aches some but is tolerable. I have full range of motion and strength is good. The left side has all kinds of discomfort at a level well above the right. I have had two epidural injections into the C5-C6 area and neither helped. I had my regular doc authorize it and the pain management doc who did the injections (two weeks apart) was basing it off of the MRI of the cervical spine. The Mayo doctor said the local spine doc could ask for one more injection and in a different location if he feels it would help better. All I know is the shoulder injection and cervical spine injections did not help. I was hoping one would as a means to start determining the source.

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@bernese53

For what it’s worth, I had a shoulder MRI with contrast done at Mayo about two years ago. The results were the exact same as yours…same wording. I have had issues with my cervical spine and had surgery this past April to fuse some of the cervical vertebrae. The shoulder pain is gone. I know that people are different so your issues may not be the same as mine. The EMG can be really helpful in terms of diagnoses.
Good luck…keep us posted.

P.S. Will your insurance company pay for a second MRI with contrast?

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@bernese53 what were your shoulder symptoms like before you had your fusion? Did you get discomfort on your upper back/shoulder blade area when lying on your back or in a recliner? Did you have hand tingles at all?

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I had discomfort in my neck and shoulder blade. I also had hand tingling in both hands. Carpal tunnel surgery helped one hand but not the other. The cervical spine fusion ended the hand tingling.

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@bernese53

I had discomfort in my neck and shoulder blade. I also had hand tingling in both hands. Carpal tunnel surgery helped one hand but not the other. The cervical spine fusion ended the hand tingling.

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@bernese53 yep, the hand tingles. The worst is on the left side which is the side I have the shoulder blade pain. The right hand has some too but not as back. I am sure they are going to suspect carpel tunnel but in reading the symptoms for it, I don't feel that is it. I just need further testing. Already done the cortisone injection into the shoulder and cervical spine (twice) and none helped. Was hoping something would to help diagnosis things. Such a journey to get answers.

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@amywood20

@bernese53 yep, the hand tingles. The worst is on the left side which is the side I have the shoulder blade pain. The right hand has some too but not as back. I am sure they are going to suspect carpel tunnel but in reading the symptoms for it, I don't feel that is it. I just need further testing. Already done the cortisone injection into the shoulder and cervical spine (twice) and none helped. Was hoping something would to help diagnosis things. Such a journey to get answers.

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Yes…it is a journey but the Mayo Clinic is a good place to go. I am six months out from cervical spine surgery done at Mayo. I am so glad I had the surgery done. By way of background: I am 66 years old, overweight, diabetic, and I have asthma. I came through the surgery just fine.

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It has happened to me twice where I was either not diagnosed or misdiagnosed because of an MRI. First was a broken hip. Fractures did not show up on MRI for ten months! (I had fallen down a flight of stairs and landed on a concrete driveway.). Last year I had a broken wrist that went undiagnosed for six months – finally they told me I had cancer. It wasn't cancer at all. It was a broken wrist. Once again, an MRI of my arm did not reveal a broken wrist and I went untreated until I tried to get a biopsy for the "cancer." So MRIs do not always catch things.

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@parrotqueen

It has happened to me twice where I was either not diagnosed or misdiagnosed because of an MRI. First was a broken hip. Fractures did not show up on MRI for ten months! (I had fallen down a flight of stairs and landed on a concrete driveway.). Last year I had a broken wrist that went undiagnosed for six months – finally they told me I had cancer. It wasn't cancer at all. It was a broken wrist. Once again, an MRI of my arm did not reveal a broken wrist and I went untreated until I tried to get a biopsy for the "cancer." So MRIs do not always catch things.

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@parrotqueen Once again you have to check and recheck we are our own advocates . My husband had a cat scan and it showed a shadow on his lungs . Automatically they said it was cancer . He had a regular xray and it showed a small shadow but after talking with his Dr . found out it was from an old pheumonia that was the shadow . So glad you checked again . But the pain you must have had this is intolerable with what you went through . So sorry this happened but you know your body better then anyone so advocate for yourself as you did

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@parrotqueen

It has happened to me twice where I was either not diagnosed or misdiagnosed because of an MRI. First was a broken hip. Fractures did not show up on MRI for ten months! (I had fallen down a flight of stairs and landed on a concrete driveway.). Last year I had a broken wrist that went undiagnosed for six months – finally they told me I had cancer. It wasn't cancer at all. It was a broken wrist. Once again, an MRI of my arm did not reveal a broken wrist and I went untreated until I tried to get a biopsy for the "cancer." So MRIs do not always catch things.

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@parrotqueen that must have been incredibly frustrating. 🙁

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@bernese53

Yes…it is a journey but the Mayo Clinic is a good place to go. I am six months out from cervical spine surgery done at Mayo. I am so glad I had the surgery done. By way of background: I am 66 years old, overweight, diabetic, and I have asthma. I came through the surgery just fine.

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@bernese53 Mayo is amazing. My husband is in the process of retiring from the military and has said he wants to go work there (in a non-medical capacity since he does not have a background in that). We live in KS and I don't want to move so that's not going to happen. But, that shows how blown away he was while we were there for my PKD/PLD. If the specialists here cannot figure things out I will definitely consider going back to Mayo for their help. Will be interesting to see what their radiologists note in the MRA I sent them. If the spine specialist where I live does further testing like an EMG/nerve conduction test and it doesn't determine anything then I am going to push for another shoulder MRA done at a different facility. I do suspect this is cervical spine related though.

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Best of luck to you. Hope you can find a solution for your shoulder pain. Keep us posted.

Liked by amywood20

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@bernese53

Best of luck to you. Hope you can find a solution for your shoulder pain. Keep us posted.

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@bernese53 sorry for yet another question…before you had your cervical spine surgery and was having shoulder blade pain, did it seem like it was affecting the function of the shoulder some in how it moved, etc? I don't mean it slipping out of place or anything, just that things didn't feel right with the function of it.

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It did not feel as though it were slipping out of place…just felt as though it did not move as smoothly as it should.

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