MRI Scans - What do multiple high intensity signal areas on an mri scan mean after sustaining tbi?

Hi All,

Hope you are ok today?

Does anyone know, or point me in the right direction to find out what multiple high intensity signal areas mean on an MRI scan? These were seen following my subdural bleed ten months ago on my scan. Following being run over, I started to have partial seizures on my right (alot) which relates to the subdural on my left. Fluroscent lights/flickering sets my seizures off, but not all bright lights. I have seen some improvements to my seizures with anti epileptics (Keppra - horrible side effects), but still very dehbilitated as can't go any where with fluroscent lights for any period of time, which renders me virtually house bound. The more seizures I have, the more tired I am.

When I was an inpatient we had to complain about one doctor and their care of me. You complain about one doctor, you complain about them all. Hospital will not release my notes after my solicitor has tried for over five months. No one will give me care. They ignore all the symptoms above. We repeately tell them about the fluroscent light issues, my seizures relating to my damaged side, by loss of lanaguage control when I wake in the morning, when my environment is too nosiy and in the evening shortly before I take my medication dose. I am also so, so tired sleep for most of day and night. I also have problems with body temperature control All completed ignored, no proper patient history recorded.

Third neurologists down the line tells me a subdural bleed is nothing to do with the brain! I may look stupid, but I really am not oh and I have been told all my symptoms are psychological with no reference to the fact that I landed on my head at 35mph and only since them am I like this. I recognise though that some of my issues are pshycholgical but not all, otherwise my scans persumably would be clear. They make no reference to my abnormal scans. I only get this attitude as soon as they talk to the hospital we complained about and who haven't released my notes. I know they talk to each other as when I went for a second opnion, the neurologists was copying in the orginal neurologists to all the letters he wrote. He then started sending letters to him directly and back the other way.They all insist on having details from the first hospital.

So the plan is try and piece it all together and go armed with evidence that all is not right. Tens months on, I am still not back at work and have no quality of life as I am too tired to do anything meaniful. I would like a life, but without any help, I do not know how I am going to do this.

One saving grace is my GP is brillaint and does listen. She has referred me to a neuro psychologists, not sure what will happen there and not sure how I am going to sort these seizures out.

So I have rambled away, sorry, but need advice on how to get care and what do multiple high intensity signal areas on an MRI mean? They said in hospital that this maybe where my seizures were coming from. My seizures are worse when I am laying on my back. I would be very grateful for any advice.

Thank you very much.

15 Replies

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  • An MRI is useful in reconstructing tissue from a series of images at unique depths along the x,y and z axis. Images are taken from the top of the skull down to the base (axial), from the front to back (corticol) and from side to side (sagital), so each image represents a unique slice of the brain (you might want to imagine it sort of like cutting a cake into infintesimal pieces), so no areas of the brain are missed on the scan and each layer can be analysed. High signal areas are areas of abnormal tissue. Like all tissue, when the brain is injured a scar forms over the injury, if the brain is scarred it will give off a high signal which differentiates it from normal (unscarred) tissue. You can always see scar tissue as it appears white (high signal) on an MRI. Other forms of high signal may be brain tumours.

  • THANKS FOR THIS BRILLIANT EXPLANATION. AFTER 16 YEARS OF HAVING THEM I KNOW A BIT IN THE BROADEST TERMS BUT THIS IS SO HELPFUL. |& REALLY INTERESTING.

  • Hi BettyK,

    Thank you for your question.

    AnthonyM has explained the mechanics of the MRI scan brilliantly there. It's worth noting that there are many possible causes of lesions that the hyperintense signal indicates. They are quite common in the general population, particularly older people, but in your case they could be explained by the injury, and they could certainly lead to some of the effects you are experiencing. Scarring or inflamation of the brain, which is what they indicate, can cause a wide range of effects as the brain tissue is no longer able to function normally.

    The problems you have experienced with the doctors sound extremely frustrating. So we can discuss this in detail and try to work out a course of action, could I ask you to call or email our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or helpline@headway.org.uk. We can also send you information to help you get the assessment and treatment you need, and tell you about support services in your area.

    The fact your GP has referred you to a neuropsychologist is good - I hope they'll be able to assess you and show the cause of your symptoms, which should give you support in proving it isn't 'all in your mind'.

    With you mentioning symptoms like temperature control, it may be worth looking into the possibility of hormonal imbalances due to damage to the pituitary gland. You can read more about this at headway.org.uk/hormonal-imb...

    There is a big overlap between symptoms of this and those of brain injury, but I think given that you have an understanding GP it would be worth you showing her this information and seeing what she thinks. She may be able to test levels of some of your hormones, and refer you to a specialist if necessary.

    I hope this helps, and as I say please do contact our helpline to discuss this in more detail.

    Best wishes,

    Headway.

  • AnthonyM and Headway,

    Thank you very much for your replies.

    I just wrote a big long reply and then my computer lost it, so I have given up. Sorry.

    Headway I would really appreciate to talk to you. I will give you a ring on Tuesday.

    Thank you, this site and Headway I would have been truly lost without it.

    Hope you all have a good weekend.

  • Hi Betty,

    Thank you - we look forward to hearing from you later today. I'm so sorry to hear of the problem losing your long reply - I think the community was experiencing technical problems early in the weekend but it looks like everything's working again now.

    Best wishes,

    Headway.

  • I AM SO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT THE STRUGGLE YOU ARE HAVING, IT'S PRETTY APPALING. . LUCKILY I HAD MEDICAL INSURANCE THROUGH WORK SO ONCE I'D BEEN TOLD MY PROBLEMS WEREN'T PSYCHOLOGICAL AS FIRST DIAGNOSED MY BI WAS FOUND & DIAGNOSED PROPERLY.

    THE INSURANCE WAS GREAT FOR DIAGNOSTICS MRIs, EEG,CEREBRAL ANGIOGRAMS ETC ETC BUT THEY DON'T COVER FOLLOW UP REVIEWS. THEY COST A FORTUNE TO DO PRIVATELY SO I TRIED TO GO TO THE GP. GP SAID HE CAN'T DEAL WITH BI - HE'S NOT QUALIFIED OR CONFIDENT HE WON'T MESS UP. HE TOLD ME TO GO BACK TO MY PRIVATE NEURO, ALL WELL & GOOD BUT IT COSTS A FORTUNE. I BIT THE BULLET & DID IT, GOOD AS I HAVE CONTINUITY OF CARE FROM A QUALIFIED PERSON BUT I'M STILL DISAPPOINTED WITH GP .

    IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THERE IS SO LITTLE UNDERSTANDING OF BI THAT THE MEDICAL PROFESSION CAN SEEM RELUCTANT TO GET INVOLVED SOMETIMES.GP TOLD ME THAT I WAS 1 OFONLY 3 PATIENTS THE PRACTICE HAS SEEN IN A PRACTICE OF 40,000 TO HAVE HAD A BRAIN BLEED. UNFORTUNATELY ONE OF THE 3 DIDN'T MAKE IT.

    THE NEURO WAS BRILLIANT HE & THE COUPLE OF NEUROSURGEONS I'VE HAD HAVE TAKEN ME THROUGH ALL THE IMAGES FROM MY VARIOUS MRIs & SHOWN ME ALL THE HIGH DENSITY AREAS, ATROPHIES & OTHER DODGY BITS. I AM REALLY INTERESTED IN BRAIN 'BIOLOGY/STRUCTURE (DON'T KNOW THE PROPER TERMS) PROBLEMS HAVING GOT ONE SO HE HELPED ME ENORMOUSLY.

    YOU HAVE RAISED SOMETHING I'VE BEEN SUFFERING THAT I NEVER THOUGHT TO TALK ABOUT, THE INABILITY TO REGULATE BODY TEMPERATURE. I'VE SUSPECTED THIS MAY BE SOMEHOW LINKED TO THE BI SO HAVING HEARD YOU HAVE IT I'LL INVESTIGATE.

    I HOPE YOU GET THIS RESOLVED QUICKLY

  • An off topic question - how did you feel looking at the images of the inside of your head ? My freaked me out don't know why. I had surgery to sow my fingers back on and chatted to the two surgeons about what they were doing, chatted to the surgeon and watched his screen as he operated on my knee all with no problem.

    But looking at the inside of my head - sends shivers down me just thinking about it.

  • I had a number of cat scans which I got hold of after, and they are quite fascinating I used some software to view and then render in to 3D my skull.

  • I have a complete set of my CT scans and they creep me out so much I can't look at them. The MRI pictures of my knee and neck no problem - maybe there is something wrong with me in the head ? Ah yes that's it :-)

  • Ha! Got to admit being able to see inside ones eye balls is tad funny! My wife is very squeamish so can't look. Are other folks scans as creepy?

  • I LOVED IT. IT IS SO INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT NON BI PEOPLE NEVER GET TO SEE.

    I WAS ALSO INTERESTED TO SEE THE SCARS. I KNEW ROUGHLY WHERE THE BLEEDS WERE & IT WAS GOOD TO SEE IT, IT ALSO HELPED TO SEE WHERE MY EPILEPSY WAS COMING FROM.

    I HAVE ALL MY SCANS AT HOME & ONCE I KNEW HOW TO READ THEM IT WAS REALLY. FASCINATING TO SEE THE CHANGES FROM THE EARLIEST ONES TO THE CURRENT ONES.

  • I wondered what the white spots were and why they were important enough to be counted on the reports from the neurology folk. I assumed the damage would be black and I have no idea why!

    It never occurred to me tha hey were the reasons for my problems.

  • Yes, it is a little weird seeing inside your own head. I hear there are even more detailed scanners available now, l'm surprised they still use CT scanners - bit 70's ;-)

  • There are a few high density mri scanners which give remarkable images and can detect the very fine detail required to detect the majority of BIs

    however are lot of these are in Universities and the scanners are closed at both ends - very claustrophobic

  • Headway is amazing and they will help you! Call them!!

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