Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow. It makes it difficult for your body to make healthy blood cells. This cancer is called a disease.
Diagnostic tools like lab tests and magnetic resonance images can help detect multiple myeloma and help confirm a diagnosis.
In this article, we’ll overview how an MRI machine works, why it’s an important tool in diagnosing multiple myeloma, and what the process of getting an MRI is usually like.
Magnetic resonance imager (MRI) uses radio waves and magnetic fields to create a detailed image of your body. Doctors can see soft tissues, bones, and areas such as your brain and spine with the help of the magnetic resonance machines.
MRIs are very helpful in confirming a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. For this purpose, they are better than other imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, at detecting melanoma deposits. Doctors use MRI results to diagnose or rule out multiple myeloma.
MRIs can also be used after beginning cancer treatment to monitor the myelomas, and see whether a treatment approach is working.
Magnetic resonance imagers can look inside bones. An magnetic resonance image can show.
Standard X-rays and other imaging tests, like PET scans, are not as sensitive at detecting multiple myeloma bone lesions as MRI.
Doctors can use an magnetic resonance machine to see if multiple myeloma cell deposits are forming tumors. If these cells are replacing bone marrow, they can be detected by the magnetic resonance machine, but that is not the primary use of this test.
Magnetic resonance machines are good at detecting tumors in the spine, skull, and pelvis. This can help confirm a diagnosis. It can help doctors determine the size of the multiple myeloma tumors and assess the extent of any spread.
The exact procedure for your magnetic resonance image will be determined by the clinic. There are some basics you can expect during an exam.
“You will change into a gown and put your belongings in a locker. You won’t be able to wear any during the exam.”
- There are glasses.
- Hearing aids.
- Other metals.
Makeup with metallic minerals will not be affected.
Let the MRI technician know if you needed to remove any of these items, such as Hearing aids. or There are glasses., and if you need any additional help. For example, the technician can guide you if you’re unable to see clearly without your There are glasses..
You could have contrast fluid injected to make the images clearer. This is an smi-tracer. The technician for the magnetic resonance image will insert the IV line before the magnetic resonance image begins. This may happen after a numbing agent is injected.
You lie on a table that is used for the machine. The machine will have a tunnel opening. Most of the work done in closed magnetic resonances is done in open machines.
Some people find being inside an MRI machine claustrophobic, stressful, and challenging to get through. Talk with your doctor before your MRI if you’re concerned. They might prescribe medication to help keep you calm during the test. It may help to have a friend or family member come to your appointment for emotional support, too.
The technician will show you a cord with an alarm button. You can communicate with the technician at any time during the test.
You will need to lie completely still, but you will be able to talk to the technician and tell them if you need to stop the test.
The technician will operate the machine in another room. They will be able to see you all the time.
You will receive a whole-body magnetic resonance image, which means that your entire body will be inside the machine.
You can hear loud noises inside, but headphones or ear plugs will help you drown them out.
The length of the procedure will vary depending on the number of images needed. Full-body MRIs, especially with contrast, often take longer. Your doctor and the technician will let you know exactly how long you will be scanned, and update you as time passes.
You will be free to return to work, school or your home after the test. Even if contrast was used, you will be fine to drive on your own.
“If you were given a sedative to help with anxiety or claustrophobia, you won’t be allowed to drive immediately after the exam.”
Once the images have been checked for multiple myeloma growths, your doctor will contact you with the results.
MRIs and tattoos
In rare cases, the MRI’s electrical currents and magnets can cause tattoo ink to heat up. This may cause a warm or “tingling” feeling at the site of the tattoo. In a few documented cases, it has led to burns.
Make sure you inform your doctor and technician of any recent or current tattoos so they can address your concerns.
And remember: You can communicate with a technician to stop the MRI at any time if absolutely necessary.
Multiple myeloma can be confirmed with the use of magnetic resonances. They are only one of the tests you will have as part of the diagnosis process.
Other common tests include:
- Lab tests. Blood work is a standard part of the diagnostic process. It’s very likely you’ll have a complete blood cell count (CBC) test done. Myeloma cells in your blood marrow make it difficult for your body to make enough healthy blood cells. A CBC measures the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in your blood.
- Biopsy. A biopsy is a test that looks at your bone marrow to see whether there are myeloma cells present. It’s done by inserting a long and hollow needle directly into an affected bone to extract bone marrow or bone marrow fluid.
- Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). A FISH test looks at your chromosomes. It can find chromosomal changes that are linked to multiple myeloma. It’s done by looking at the bone marrow that was extracted during a biopsy.
- X-ray. An X-ray creates detailed images of your bones. It looks for damages to bones caused by multiple myeloma.
- CT scan. A CT scan creates pictures of organs using X-ray images taken from many angles. It looks for damage done by multiple myeloma. It’s also used with biopsies to help guide the needle.
“Some people don’t have any symptoms early on in the disease.”
If you have symptoms, these can be included.
- “It’s bone pain in the skull, back, and ribs.”
- osteoporosis is a condition in which bones are weak and easily broken.
- There is a high degree of fever.
- There are frequent infections.
- It can be bruised or bled too much from a cut.
- breathing problems
Your treatment plan for multiple myeloma will be dependent on a number of factors, including your cancer stage, how well the cancer responds to treatment, and other factors. A combination of treatment options is what most treatment plans involve.
The following treatments are standard for multiple myeloma.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses strong medications to kill cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy looks for weaknesses or abnormal behavior in cancer cells. Targeted therapy medications then block those weaknesses or behaviors. This causes cancer cells to die.
- Corticosteroids. Corticosteroid medications help control your immune system and reduce inflammation. They can also help fight myeloma cells.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses energy beams to kill cancer cells. In multiple myeloma, it’s often used to shrink growths that are causing bone damage.
- Bone marrow transplants. A bone marrow or stem cell transplant is a procedure that replaces all of your cancerous bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.
- Clinical trials. New treatment options for multiple myeloma are being researched and developed. You can talk with your doctor about clinical trials that could allow you to be among the first people treated with new therapies for multiple myeloma.
An magnetic resonance image is a test that can create detailed images of the inside of the bones and show soft tissue with a high level of detail.
MRIs can allow doctors to see your bone marrow to look for signs of multiple myeloma. This makes them the best choice for diagnosing multiple myeloma since X-rays and CT scans are not as effective for this purpose.
Multiple myeloma can be ruled out by using only the magnetic resonance image. You will need to do blood work and have a tissue biopsy. Your doctor may also schedule an X-ray.
The technician will give you directions before and during the exam. Your doctor will call you or schedule an appointment to discuss your results.
Some people find getting an magnetic resonance image uncomfortable. It is important that you communicate any concerns to your doctor and that you have the medication and emotional support you need on the day of your appointment.