Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To diagnose your condition, your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and conduct a physical examination.

Your doctor will also order imaging tests to determine the cause of your condition and diagnose your condition. Tests may include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of your body.

    This safe, painless test produces detailed 3-D images of structural abnormalities in your brain that may be contributing to your symptoms. It can also provide images of the cerebellum and determine whether it extends into the spinal canal. An MRI is often used to diagnose Chiari malformation.

    An MRI can be repeated over time, and it can be used to monitor the progression of your disorder.

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. Your doctor may recommend other imaging techniques such as a CT scan.

    A CT scan uses X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of your body. A CT scan can help to reveal brain tumors, brain damage, bone and blood vessel abnormalities, and other conditions.

Aug. 21, 2013

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