How is multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosed, and which tests are used?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Christopher Luzzio, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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MS is diagnosed on the basis of clinical findings and supporting evidence from ancillary tests. Tests include the following:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging: The imaging procedure of choice for confirming MS and monitoring disease progression in the CNS

  • Evoked potentials: Used to identify subclinical lesions; results are not specific for MS

  • Lumbar puncture: May be useful if MRI is unavailable or MRI findings are nondiagnostic; CSF is evaluated for oligoclonal bands and intrathecal immunoglobulin G (IgG) production

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