Diagnostic Work-Up

When you’re seen as a new patient, there are several tests that we will be review or order to make sure that other possible causes of your symptoms are evaluated. The following are a few tests that will be completed:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Brain and Cervical Spine

MRI is probably the most common test to determine whether the demyelinating lesions (causing damage to a protective covering that surrounds nerve fibers in your brain and spinal cord) of MS are present. There are certain locations that are typical for MS, so review of this test is very important. MS can also show lesions in the spinal cord, so this test is done as well. MRI is also performed with an IV contrast to tell if the lesions are active, meaning attacking right then, which will help determine if the treatment you are taking is working. The MRI will also show us if the MS lesions are scarring, as they should, or if some of the lesions are remaining unscarred.

  • Lab Work

Several lab tests are performed to make sure that you have adequate function of your liver, kidneys and other organs. In addition, there are some tests that we perform to look at your vitamin D and B12 levels, and other conditions that can mimic MS, such as Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and thyroid problems.
  • Spinal Fluid Analysis

If there is any question as to whether you have multiple sclerosis after reviewing the MRI tests and lab work, a spinal fluid analysis may be performed.