The purpose of MRI in the case of Ewing sarcoma is to provide doctors with detailed images of the inside of a person’s body. This helps with diagnosis, treatment planning, and monitoring treatment response.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to take images inside the body.

Doctors use it to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions, including Ewing sarcoma.

This article discusses MRI scans for Ewing sarcoma, their purpose, what to expect, and more.

In the case of Ewing sarcoma, doctors can use MRI scans to:

  • Confirm the presence of a tumor: MRIs can help identify the presence of a tumor in the body, which may be suggestive of Ewing sarcoma.
  • Determine the size and location of the tumor: MRIs can help determine the tumor’s size and location, which can be important in planning treatment.
  • Monitor the response to treatment: MRIs can track the tumor’s size over time and assess the response to treatment. This can help doctors determine whether the treatment is effective or whether to make adjustments.
  • Look for metastasis: MRIs can help check for evidence of metastasis, which is the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. However, it is more common to use a CT scan for this purpose.

Ewing sarcoma typically appears as a large, ill-defined soft tissue mass on an MRI. It may also cause anomalies in the surrounding bone, such as breaks or unusual growth.

However, it is important to note that the appearance of Ewing sarcoma on an MRI can vary depending on the size, location, and stage of the cancer.

It is also possible for other conditions to appear similar to Ewing sarcoma on an MRI. Therefore, doctors usually diagnose Ewing sarcoma based on a combination of results of imaging tests, biopsy, and other diagnostic tests.

This selection of MRI scans shows Ewing sarcoma.

An MRI scan is painless but can be uncomfortable for some individuals. This is because the person has to stay very still inside the scanner, which is a confined space that may create discomfort for those who do not like small spaces. Additionally, the machine can be very loud.

Healthcare professionals may offer earplugs or headphones to help block out the noise. Some people may also have access to a panic button if they become anxious or claustrophobic.

MRI scans do not use X-rays, so there is no radiation exposure.


Before the procedure, people will need to remove any metal objects that they are wearing, including jewelry, watches, and hearing aids.

This is because the magnetic field will attract any magnetic objects, which could damage the scanner or injure the person.

Individuals with metal implants may not be candidates for MRI scans. A healthcare professional will determine this.

Often, healthcare professionals inject the person’s vein with a contrast material called gadolinium before the scan. This can help the images to show clearer details.


During an MRI, people must lie on a table that slides into a large, tube-like machine.

The machine generates a strong magnetic field and radio waves, which create detailed images of the inside of the body.

A person must remain still to provide clear images. They may need to hold their breath for a few seconds at a time.

The procedure typically takes 15–90 minutes, depending on the area they are scanning.


After the MRI, people can usually return to their usual activities.

Doctors may provide people with a copy of the images, or the doctor may review them with the person at a follow-up appointment.

People will receive their results within 1–2 weeks, but it may be sooner if the doctor thinks the case is urgent. They will discuss the results with the person and answer any questions.

The results of an MRI scan will usually show if the issue is likely to be an Ewing tumor, an infection, or bone damage.

MRIs can also show the exact location and extent of the tumor. This is very important when doctors plan treatment for Ewing sarcoma.

In addition to MRI, other imaging scans that doctors may use to diagnose Ewing sarcoma include:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: This uses X-rays to create detailed cross-sectional images of the body. It can visualize the body’s bones, organs, and other tissues.
  • X-ray: This uses a small amount of radiation to produce images of the inside of the body. It can visualize the bones and identify abnormalities such as tumors. These are generally less detailed than CT or MRI scans.
  • Bone scan: A bone scan is a test that uses a small amount of radioactive material to create images of the bones. It can identify irregularities such as cancer in the bones.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: This uses a small amount of radioactive material to create detailed images of the body’s cells. This identifies areas of unusual activity, such as cancer, in the body. However, doctors do not routinely use this method for Ewing sarcoma present in the soft tissue.

Overall, the choice of imaging scan will depend on the specific needs of the person and the availability of the different types of scans.

Below are answers to common questions about MRI scans for Ewing sarcoma.

Does Ewing sarcoma show on MRI?

Ewing sarcoma does show on MRI.

MRI is the preferred imaging test due to its higher sensitivity in detecting smaller lesions and providing more accurate information about tumor size and location.

MRI can also better assess the extent of disease spread, which is important for determining the best treatment options.

How does a sarcoma look on MRI?

Ewing sarcoma typically appears as a large, ill-defined soft tissue mass on an MRI scan.

It may look like a cluster of small bone lesions resembling a “moth-eaten” appearance. This mass could show inside the bone and may push into other surrounding tissues.

This combination of imaging features can help radiologists identify and monitor Ewing sarcoma.

MRI is an essential tool in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring Ewing sarcoma, as it provides detailed images of the inside of the body.

These images can help doctors plan an individual’s treatment and provide information on outlook, stage, and more.