What Do Dark Spots On A Brain Scan Mean?


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Beth Kennedy Profile
Beth Kennedy answered
Black or dark spots on a brain MRI or CT scan can mean any number of things. These can range from minor causes to serious illnesses. Dark spots can be caused by:

  • a leftover stain from an earlier injury
  • tumour
  • aneurysm
  • abnormal tissue/brain lesions
A leftover stain from an old injury could range from anything such as concussion or damaged tissue. They are largely harmless and nothing to worry about. Although if you are worried simply ask your doctor.

A brain tumour originating in the brain is known as a primary brain tumour. Brain tumours can also be caused by cancer that has spread to the brain. This is known as metastic brain tumours. Headaches or loss of vision will prompt additional scans for dark spots. A dye is injected into the brain's bloodstream in order to identify the possible brain tumour.

An aneurysm is where a blood vessel in the brain fills up with too much blood like a balloon. Aneurysms can be genetic or caused by disease, both ways cause the blood vessel wall to weaken. Aneurysms can be caused by diabetes, obesity, hypertension, tobacco use, alcoholism, high cholesterol, copper deficiency, and aging.

Brain lesions or abnormal tissue can be caused by injury, infection, exposure to certain chemicals and problems with the immune system. The lesions may be abscesses, cerebral infarction, Alzheimer's disease or arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Abscesses are inflamed tissues or areas of puss and usually form after infection of the nose, sinus, ear or mouth. Cerebral infraction is usually caused by a stroke and means parts of the brain tissue have died. Brain lesions/abnormal brain tissue caused by arteriovenous malformations is where arteries and veins get tied up and become fragile. Alzheimer's causes brain lesions when nerves cells die and damage areas of the brain.

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