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Myasthenia Gravis

CT scan - With or without Contrast?

06/24/2002

Question:

I have been diagnosed with MG via a single fiber EMG. I am scheduled for a CT scan to check for thymoma in two weeks. My doctor (who is very familiar with MG and has many other MG patients) has ordered a "CT scan of the chest - no contrast." I have read Dr. Quinlan`s response to a recent question on this site indicating the need for patients to have a CT with contrast. Now I`m confused. What is the difference between the CT with and without contrast?

Answer:

Just a follow up on the need for contrast in checking for a thymoma...

Contrast can be helpful in thin patients who are younger (and have less fat in the mediastinum). In most patients, however, the normal presence of fat allows for an adequate evaluation of thymoma without using contrast. CT is mandatory, contrast is not.

Thanks for the question.

Portions of this answer were researched and reviewed by Dolly Boughaba, MD, University of Cincinnati Neuromuscular Section.

For more information:

Go to the Myasthenia Gravis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

John G Quinlan, MD John G Quinlan, MD
Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati