When you test for MS and then first MRI is normal and then a year later it is still normal, when should you do another MRI? I'm continuing to have symptoms such as stiffness, fatigue, eye pain, numbness and tingling.
The answer to your question really depends on the likelihood that you have MS. For instance, if you experienced a clinically isolated syndrome (optic neuritis is an example) and your MRI is normal at onset your chance of developing MS over the next 10 years is less than 20 %. Repeating an MRI scan one year later is reasonable but if the repeat scan is normal, I would wait another 2 years before scanning again. Of course, if definite new symptoms consistent with MS occur during this follow-up interval, I would repeat the MRI earlier.
People with signs and symptoms that are less specific for MS (examples include fatigue, stiffness, tingling without exam findings) do not require multiple repeated MRI scans; repeating an MRI one year later is probably sufficient unless definite symptoms and signs of MS appear.
Revere (Rip) Kinkel MD
Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program
Professor of Clinical Neurosciences
University of California San Diego