Can You See a Brain Tumor on an MRI Scan?

November 30, 2018 – 3 min read

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It can be frightening to think that you might have a brain tumor. You have tried to chalk up your headaches to stress, your fatigue to putting in extra hours at work, or your memory problems to aging. While these are some of the symptoms of a potential brain tumor, they could also be caused by something else.

It is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor as soon as possible to ensure that you receive a timely and accurate diagnosis. Your physician will likely refer you for a brain tumor MRI to confirm or rule it out. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is a standard test in detecting many types of tumors.

Other Common Symptoms of Brain Tumors

In addition to the above, you may need a brain tumor MRI if you display any of these general symptoms:

  • Seizures: Myoclonic seizures refer to those that cause either one or several muscle twitches, body jerks, or spasms. Some people also refer to them as convulsions. A tonic-clonic seizure, previously known as a grand mal seizure, means that a person’s body tone changes and he or she loses consciousness. It can also cause confusion, headache, weakness, sore muscles, and lack of breathing for several seconds. Sensory seizures involve changes in sensations such as hearing, vision, and smell with no loss of consciousness. Finally, a complex partial seizure can cause a total or partial loss of consciousness and repetitive twitching motions.
  • Sudden changes in personality not due to new hobbies or interests
  • Nausea and/or vomiting without other explanation
  • Difficulty sleeping without other explanation
  • Loss of balance when walking

Several additional symptoms depend on the exact location of the tumor within the brain.

A Brain Tumor MRI is Highly Accurate

According to, an MRI is the most effective diagnostic tool for detecting a brain tumor in most cases. Oncologists prefer the MRI because it provides them with the greatest level of detail as compared to other imaging tests. The magnetic field can locate the tumor as well as measure its size. Before you receive an MRI at American Health Imaging, a technician will inject dye into a vein or possibly give you a pill that allows the picture from your test to show up with the greatest contrast possible.

We may need to complete a brain tumor MRI of your spinal cord as well as your brain depending on the suspected location of your tumor. Some brain tumors spread to the central nervous system (CNS) while others originate there. Your referring doctor or neurologist will complete an examination to determine whether you need an MRI of your brain, spinal cord, or both. The entire procedure should take less than one hour to complete.

What to Expect After the Completion of Your Brain Tumor MRI

A radiologist will interpret your results after your MRI.* He or she will then complete a detailed report and forward it to the doctor who referred you to American Health Imaging. Your doctor will initiate contact with you to discuss the results.

Visiting one of our imaging centers can save you significant money and time. If you need a brain tumor MRI, request an appointment today.