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Radiology/Questions from MRI report


Hi Delia,
I read through a lot of questions from various users and your responses. I think that you guys are doing a great job! I have a few questions from my MRI results(with and W/O contrast)that came in yesterday.

History: I've been having severe headaches(many times accompanied with nausea) for over 15yrs now. Off late, I would say in the last 3-4yrs the frequency has increased drastically and has been interfering with my daily routine. My doctor ordered a MRI(with and without contrast) and this was the first time. The results came in yesterday:

Comments from the Doctor's Office
The MRI of the brain shows an anatomical variant at the junction of the neck and skull that may narrow the spinal canal. An additional x-ray test was recommended that involves injection of a dye around the spinal cord. Before ordering this, I would like for her to get a neurology opinion. She also has a polyp or cyst in the left maxillary sinus, and that can cause facial pain but likely is not the cause of her headaches.

1. Anatomical variation at the craniocervical junction that narrows the foramen magnum. There appears be some mass effect upon the cervicomedullary junction. Correlation with a CT cervical myelogram is recommended for further evaluation.
2. Mild tonsillar ectopia.
3. There is no acute infarction, evidence of hemorrhage or an enhancing intracranial mass lesion.
4. Mild chronic appearing paranasal sinus disease.

Questions: I'm not concerned about the Cysts in my sinus. But more about the "mass effect upon cervicomedullary junction". Does this indicate any benign or malignant forms of tumor? My appointment with the Neuro is in 2 weeks from now and I'm being very anxious.

Hello, Sandhya,

Thanks for your kudos!

In Radiology, the general definition of the term "mass effect" refers to a shifting of anatomy away from its normal positioning, as if there were a mass. It doesn't necessarily mean there is a mass. It just means the anatomy is displaced or pushed aside for reasons unknown.

The radiologist suggests a CT cervical myelogram to for further evaluation to try and see why there is a mass effect. Pressure on your spinal canal at the base of your skull could definitely cause headaches.

I wouldn't worry about having a mass at this point. It may be possible that the narrowing of your craniocervical junction is what medical people call a "normal abnormality", and it's normal for you. I would definitely recommend further evaluation for your problems.

Hope this helps,


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Delia White


I am not qualified to interpret diagnostic imaging or to diagnose disease. Please consult a physician for that information. I am the photographer. I can tell you what to expect during most MRI, CT and X-ray procedures.


I now have more than 30 years experience in diagnostic imaging. My specialty is MRI. I am also very familiar with CT and the way we used to take x-rays (everything's digital now)!

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Technology.

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