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Thread: New Here - Would Appreciate Help with MRI Brain Terminology

  1. #1

    Exclamation New Here - Would Appreciate Help with MRI Brain Terminology

    Hello everyone, I have a genetic, autoimmune disease called Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, or APS. There is no known cure and APS awareness in the medical community is very poor.

    Simply put, APS is a hyper-coagulation disorder -- and more. I have Primary APS. (read more at
    Before being diagnosed, I had a hemorrhagic brain tumor which caused years of seizures until I had a right temporal lobectomy to remove the benign tumor. I also have had four miscarriages; three strokes; I almost died when multiple bilateral embolisms entered both of my lungs, causing bilateral plueral effusion and infarct. The PEs were the result of my first DVT. THEN I was diagnosed. Up until my diagnosis, I thought that I was a very unlucky, and for some reason, unhealthy person for no reason. My hematologist/oncologist tells me each of these medical maladies were due to APS.

    The middle of last summer, I began experiencing terrible pain on the right side of my face when it was touched, or even if it touched a pillow as I lie down. I saw my neurologist, who said I probably have Trigeminal Neuralgia -- which MAY BE CAUSED BY ANOTHER BRAIN TUMOR. So off to MRI I went.

    I saw my neurologist the same day and brought the CD of 1152 images with me. He looked at about 12 images and pointed out the images I've seen before: "There's a stroke, there's a stroke, there's a stroke, there's your massive resection of your lobectomy --- WOW, look at THIS!" <-- There was a black spot that neither my neurologist nor I recall ever seeing on my previous MRIs. "What is that?" I asked. "I'm not sure," said my neurologist, "It could be a BIG stroke, or something else..." Hmm. If I had another "big stroke," (I have already relearned walking and talking), wouldn't I have known it??) So, we wait for the radiologist's report.

    I had a 3-T MRI, with and without contrast. I just received the written report. My neurologist is out of town for two weeks; which leaves me trying to decipher the radiological lingo.

    So, I came here, hoping someone would be familiar with this "language."

    Specifically, these snippets from the report:

    1) "Right temporal cystic encephalomalacia and gliosis persist." <----- Is this a reference to my previous temporal lobectomy?
    2) "Remote right frontal and parietal infarcts are present." <----- I am fairly certain these are old stroked areas (?)
    3) "Again noted is focal susceptibility artifact in the medial left temporal lobe." <----- No idea what this is.
    4) "Small sub occipital lymph nodes are noted."

    Sorry this is long, but I am worried. I have been through a lot. Now that I have a CD and report, there is no physician around to tell me what it all means. :-(

    Thank you all! I appreciate any help and feedback you can provide. Have a nice day!

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    ((((((ShariA)))))) ~


    Wow! You have certainly been through quite an ordeal! I'm so sorry for all that you've had to endure.

    Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with MRI readings, so I can't assist you with interpretation. Perhaps you could call the neurology department or the radiology department at the hospital, where you've been treated and tested, and ask to speak to any physician, who could generally interpret the results to you. I think that would be your best path, and where you would likely get the most expert opinion and reading of your MRI results.

    Hopefully, others, with more MRI experience, will see your post and drop by with their thoughts.

    Healing and positive energy on its way to you ~

    Love & Light,

    Mom to Jon, 49, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful Dad.

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    I'm so sorry to hear of your miscarriages, strokes and brain tumor! My friend had a miscarriage in 2010 so I can only imagine what you went through physically and emotionally.
    My teacher had a stroke. He told me "Infarct" means "stroke" in MRI language. Basically "dead tissue" in the brain. The lymph node part may mean something is enlarged that should not be enlarged but I'm not sure about that or the others. You may want to search a library database or something like google scholar to find meanings for the other terms. You might have had a large "silent stroke" i.e a stroke that happened while you were sleeping and had no outward signs. It's possible your facial pain is your brain mis interpreting pain signals due to the stroke damage. Again not an expert here but I hope this helps! I'm so glad you were able to relearn how to speak and walk! Kevin Sorbo wrote a good book about when he had 3 strokes called "True Strength." You might want to check that out!
    Last edited by funnylegs4; 05-13-2016 at 04:29 PM.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films!

  6. #4
    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    WELCOME, ShariA!

    You've had far more medical problems than anyone "should" have but there's no way of knowing about these things. Very unfortunately.

    About your questions, I don't know much about interpreting MRIs though I've had 4 of them now. This may help:

    infarct = a small localized area of dead tissue resulting from failure of blood supply. (as funnylegs said)

    encephalomalacia =
    Encephalomalacia is the softening or loss of brain tissue after cerebral infarction, cerebral ischemia, infection, craniocerebral trauma, or other injury. The term is usually used during gross pathologic inspection to describe blurred cortical margins and decreased consistency of brain tissue after infarction.gliosis = A process leading to scars in the central nervous system that involves the production of a dense fibrous network of neuroglia (supporting cells) in areas of damage. Gliosis is a prominent feature of many diseases of the central nervous system, including multiple sclerosis and stroke. After a stroke, neurons die and disappear with replacement gliosis.

    In general, an artifact in medicine is:

    Anything (especially in a histologic specimen or a graphic record) that is caused by the technique used or is not a natural occurrence but is merely incidental

    Here's something about susceptibility artifacts. They seem to be just odd occurrences as a result of something you might have been wearing or the way the MRI equipment was working.

    My guess is that the small suboccipital lymph nodes are just being noted, for the record, but you might want to ask if they mean anything.

    I hope that your neurologist will be able to give you a thorough explanation when you have your appointment.

    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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