How are brain lesions diagnosed?

If symptoms suggest that a person may be suffering from a brain lesion(s), it is important to contact the doctor for an appointment. A doctor will help diagnose and offer treatment options for each patient depending on the extent of the condition.

The doctor will ask questions about the patient’s symptoms and medical history and then perform a physical examination.

In order to find the location of the lesion, the doctor may touch the patient’s skin with hot, cold or vibrating objects, and also may pinch the patient to check for the feeling of pain. Additional tests may also be recommended by the doctor to further assess the condition.

What tests diagnose brain lesions?

After a physical examination, the doctor may also recommend that the patient schedule a diagnostic test, such as a computed tomography, or CT or CAT scan, or magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. These tests will help the doctor pinpoint the location of the lesion and will also help assess the extent of damage the lesion has caused the brain.

Computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) is a diagnostic image used to evaluate bone, blood and brain tissue. Sometimes, a medication is injected through the patient’s vein to help highlight brain structures. A CT scan uses radiation.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic test that produces three-dimensional, or 3D, images of the inside of the body using magnetic fields and computer technology. It shows brain tissue detail as well as the brain stem, and cerebellum (posterior brain) better than a CT scan. An MRI of the brain can help determine whether there are signs of prior mini-strokes. A medication (contrast) can also be injected to help high light structures.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/07/2018.

References

  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Anatomy of the Brain. www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Anatomy-of-the-Brain Accessed 5/11/2018.
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Cerebrovascular Disease. www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Cerebrovascular-Disease Accessed 5/11/2018.
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Brain Basics: Know Your Brain. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Know-Your-Brain Accessed 5/11/2018.

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