Gadolinium is a chemical compound given during MRI scans that highlights areas of inflammation. It is also called “contrast material.”
A gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan shows active lesions, meaning that there is a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and inflammation is present.
Therefore, gadolinium-enhanced lesions are new – it is estimated that lesions will enhance with gadolinium for six weeks or less. The gadolinium allows the doctor to tell which lesions are active and which ones are inactive, allowing the doctor to know recent disease activity and determine if a relapse is occurring.