AUTHORS: Haller S, Pereira VM, Lalive PH, Chofflon M, Vargas MI, Lovblad KO

Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 20(6): 313-23, December 2009



Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of unknown origin affecting the central nervous system. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays an increasingly important role in its diagnosis and further monitoring of disease progress.


The typical MRI appearance of MS on conventional MRI sequences and current diagnostic criteria for MS are discussed. Advanced imaging techniques are reviewed with respect to application in MS. Finally, the atypical variants of MS are briefly reviewed.


Although MRI is not intended and will not replace clinical assessment in MS, the recognized MRI criteria may aid in establishing an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of MS in the context of a clinical suspicion or clinically isolated syndrome. In addition, MRI might contribute to rule out differential diagnoses for MS. Moreover, MRI may be used to monitor the evolution of MS and in pharmaceutical trials. Advanced imaging techniques might, in the future, further characterize MS lesion subtypes and potentially guide tailored therapy.