I have to have an MRA of head, and MRI of the orbits. Has anyone had these done?

I am due to have these 2 procedures on 31/12/13. Has anyone had an MRI of the orbits? And if so are you expected to keep eyes open? I have had many of the GCA symptoms but I am 48, and temple biopsy was negative although had been on low dose Pred for 10 months. Bloods are also fairly normal. I am also waiting for nerve conduction studies of the tongue, as my tongue develops clots, colour changes and spasms which last all night. Have a lovely new Rheumy doing these investigations after other Rheumy who implied I must be anxious, as couldn't be that unfortunate to have both atypical PMR and atypical GCA.

9 Replies

  • Good grief Charlie Brown! What a do! I am sure all will be fine.Good luck for a speedy outcome.I lived on Skye for 14 years,I know all about Runrig,and the charismatic Donny !!!!!!.Soo.

  • Hi Soojay, yes I am a Hugh fan of Runrig and have seen them many times. I originally come from Glasgow but not live in the South East. I was particularly interested if anyone had had an MRI of eye sockets, it's something I have not really come across before. Oh I also have a few of Donny's CDs since he went solo. Take care, Runrigx

  • I had an MRI of head only some years ago. I had my eyes closed as there was very little to see! I don't remember any instructions as to whether I should or not. Thinking about it though, I doubt there would be any benefit in keeping your eyes open.

    I was diagnosed with atypical PMR and GCA 12 years ago as I have no inflammation markers present either then or at any time since (I did have a blood test which showed raised markers a couple of months ago and I keep meaning to chase it up but with one thing and another.............it's not been mentioned since but I'm beginning to this my GP's wouldn't know a raised marker from a cat).

    Mine was a gradual PMR onset, not the usual acute presentation, and it's now believed that the onset began in my early 50's.

  • It would be rather difficult to keep your eyes open for the entire procedure - my head MRI took about 20 minutes. I've heard of people who said they went to sleep during it - heaven knows how, it isn't the quietest of tests!

    The reason they say MRI of orbits is because they want the optic nerve and stuff looked at rather than just the brain and they have to specify that or the orbits will be ignored when reading the results. The MRI creates images of slices through the head which can then be computer processed to create all sorts of images when they are put together - like a see-through 3D jigsaw - so keeping your eyelids open isn't going to make any difference to what they see.

  • Hi Runrig,

    I had a MRI of my head a few months ago. It took about 20 mins and has been commented on was a very noisy procedure, they give you ear defenders. I didn't have contrast so I don't know if that doubles the length of time.

    They put your head in a special frame, if I remember correctly there may have been times where I had to open my eyes but I can't say for sure.

    If you are claustrophobic at all then it might be worth getting some diazepam from your GP. It is certainly a more " hemmed in " procedure than a CT.

    Good luck, at least you are now having the investigation of choice even if it has taken them 10 months to arrange it!

    Best wishes


  • Thanks Keyes, have had whole spine MRI before so used to the noise, and I'm not claustrophobic. It was more the idea of being expected to keep eyes open for all the time of the orbit MRI. Have been told to expect 30-40 minutes for each scan. Out of interest Keyes did your MRI show up any inflammation?

  • Hi Runrig,

    I just had a plain MRI ordered by Max Fax to try and find an explanation for my ongoing jaw and facial pain. I suggested an MRA but wasn't taken up on that! The MRI was clear. From what I have read MRA is the investigation of choice. I hope that it will provide you with some answers.



  • Hi! I have a head MRI done every 3 mths. It is noisy but nothing to it. They give you ear plugs but they don't stop all the noise, and after about 15 minutes of taking regular imaging they give me contrast. Nothing to it, in fact I am so used to MRI's that I almost fell asleep even with the noise on my last one 2 weeks ago...Good luck hope all turns out well for you whatever your having the MRI

  • Hi Runnrig, Shortly after my temple biopsy was diagnosed as positive for GCA, I saw an optic specialist. He used a special camera, which took pictures in both of my eyes. He was able to see on the film, both left and right eye nerves. Mine showed "pallor". He gave me a copy of the photo.

    Apparently the eye nerves are usually "red" because the blood from the temple artery runs through them. With the inflammation in the temple nerves from the GCA, often, apparently enough blood does not get through and the eye nerves do not appear "red". The medical term, from my understanding is "Pallor" which means whitish and that is a problem. I am not sure what type of device he used to capture the eye nerve (which are tiny), but it was new and effective at imaging the eye nerve. An MRA of the optic nerve may be just as or more effective, as this device. Wanted to share this, it was easier than the MRA. Have had MRA's of the brain and large vessels of the chest and back. Possibly your opthmologist has access to one of these devices. Hope all comes out well.



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