Q. What are the side effects of MRI with contrast?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 24, 2020

Hi doctor,

One of the neurologist has recommended me to go for MRI brain with contrast. I wanted to know is it safe to have an MRI with contrast? As I have read somewhere that the agent used in scanning might get deposited in the brain. Please let me know.



Welcome to

For a long time, Gadolinium based contrast agents were thought to be safe for humans and documented adverse effects like systemic nephrogenic fibrosis were found in patients who had known previous abnormalities in kidney functioning.

Recently, there have been alerts on the deposition of MRI contrast agents in the brain tissues and you might be aware of some of the facts. There is a lot of ongoing research in the area of retention of MRI contrast in the cells of our body following administration during an MRI scan. One of the most recent researches propose the judicious use of contrast and only when it might increase the image details such that it benefits the patient management better than with non-contrast scans.

In your case, I will suggest to do a plain scan first and then take the decision of contrast might benefit.

Thank you doctor,

I have already done my plain scan in 1.5 T machine which was normal. Actually, normal MRI was suggested to me by another doctor. I thought to take advice from another doctor he suggested me to go for an MRI with contrast. What do you suggest, should I go with contrast or should I do it in a 3T machine?



Welcome back to

Getting a post-contrast scan has its benefits even though the 3T MRI scan can show images in greater detail. I have not had any patient reporting problems after getting an MRI contrast scan done in over 15 years.

So if your neurologist feels that a contrast scan might help investigate your symptoms then you may proceed for such post-contrast scan. But getting multiple contrast scans is to be done with caution.

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