Contributed by: Anjali Sharma


To help diagnose a variety of medical disorders, doctors may request an MRI or CT scan. Despite the different ways of creating images, both types of scans have comparable applications. An MRI scan employs radio waves and strong magnetic fields, whereas a CT scan uses X-rays.

Although MRI scans provide higher detail images, CT scans are more widely used and less expensive.

In this article, we examine the differences between MRI and CT scans and their uses, techniques and safety.

What is an MRI scan?

MRI uses radio waves and magnets to examine the inside of the body’s organs.

These are routinely used to diagnose problems with you:

  • the joint
  • the brain
  • the wrist
  • ankle
  • the breast
  • A ship in the heart

Fat and water molecules in your body reflect radio waves and a constant magnetic field. A receiver within the device receives radio waves, which are then converted into an image of the body that can be used to identify problems.

The MRI machine is a noisy one. Usually, earplugs or headphones will be provided to make the sound more tolerable.

Additionally, you will need to remain still throughout the MRI.

What is a CT Scan?

A large X-ray machine is used for a CT scan, a type of X-ray. Another name for CT scan is CAT scan.

Typically, a CT scan is used to:

  • tumor
  • broken bones
  • Intestinal bleeding discovered through cancer surveillance

You will be asked to lie on a table for the CT scan. Next, the table glides through the CT scan while taking cross-sectional images of your internal organs.

CT scan vs MRI

MRI is less common than CT scan, which is often less expensive.

However, MRIs are considered to have better image resolution than CT scans. The biggest difference is that MRI does not use X-rays whereas CT scans do.

Other differences between the risks of MRI and CT scan include:

the risk

When used, both MRI and CT scans carry some risks. The dangers depend on the type of imaging done and how it is done.

CT scan risks include:

  • Injury to unborn children
  • A very small dose of radiation
  • Using dyes can cause damage

MRI risks include:

  • Magnetic resonance of metal is a possibility, and the loud noise of the machine may slightly affect your hearing
  • Body temperature increases during prolonged MRI
  • Claustrophobia

Before having an MRI, you should talk to your doctor if you have any implants, such as:

  • artificial joint,
  • Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
  • Pacemaker, and
  • Eye implants

Choosing between an MRI and CT scan

Your doctor will likely advise you on whether you should receive one MRI Or get a CT scan based on your symptoms.

If you need a more precise image of your organs, ligaments, or soft tissues, an MRI is often recommended by your doctor.

These examples include:

  • Slipped disc
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Torn ligaments

A CT scan is often recommended if you need a general image of an area, such as your internal organs, or if you have suffered a fracture or head injury.

Last thought

Both MRI and CT scan are relatively low-risk procedures. Both provide important details that can help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

MRI and CT scans show the internal structures of the body. On the other hand, a CT scan is faster and can provide images of the skeletal system, tissues and organs.

An MRI is very sharp at taking pictures that help medical professionals detect abnormal tissue inside the body. MRIs produce images with higher fine detail.

Your doctor will probably tell you which ones they recommend. To make sure you’re happy with the decision your doctor recommends, be sure to ask questions and address any concerns with them.

Book an MRI scan today!

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