What is the role of CT scanning in the workup of multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Updated: Aug 07, 2018
  • Author: Djamil Fertikh, MD; Chief Editor: James G Smirniotopoulos, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Because computed tomography (CT) scanning has poor sensitivity, the detection, evaluation, and characterization of MS lesions and enhancement patterns are limited with this modality. As a result, with the advancement of MRI, evaluation of the spinal cord using axial CT scanning was abandoned.

On CT scans, large, masslike lesions can occasionally mimic a neoplasm, and characterizing them can be difficult. Primary and secondary neoplasms of the spinal cord (astrocytomas, ependymomas), infection, transverse myelitis, acute infarction, sarcoidosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus may mimic demyelinating MS plaques on CT scans.


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