Key differences between CT scan and MRI

What type of imaging test is needed?

If you have ever had an injury or even a certain type of illness, it may require an imaging study. Imaging studies use advanced technology to help doctors take a closer look at the body to help diagnose a problem. There are several types of imaging tests that serve different purposes. Learn the difference between a CT scan and an MRI imaging test so you can have an informed discussion with a medical professional should you ever need one.

What is an imaging test?

An imaging test is an advanced technology that doctors and radiologists use to take pictures of the body to determine the type of injury or disease. Using radio waves and X-rays, a photo of the internal structures of the body is created. Usually, before the imaging test, a patent is required to drink contrast, which helps the internal body to show up better in the image.

The type of imaging test capabilities vary when it comes to availability, resolution, and power usage.

When to do an MRI?

MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, uses permanent radio waves and magnets to view an image of the inside of the body. The images produced are very detailed. MRIs are primarily used to diagnose a sports injury or musculoskeletal injury. Here are some common areas of the body that are diagnosed with an MRI:

  • Together
  • brain
  • Wrist
  • Ankle
  • Breast
  • heart
  • Blood vessels

The MRI machine can be opened or closed and is usually very tall; patients are given headphones. Patients are required to lie completely still the entire time.

When to Get a CT Scan?

A CT Scan or Computed Tomography can be thought of as a giant x-ray machine. Also known as a CAT scan, a CT scan is a more sophisticated form of the plain X-ray that most of us are used to. Computer imaging consists of a 360-degree view of the body. Some common things that a CT scan is used for are:

  • Bone fractures
  • Tumor/Cancer Monitoring
  • Internal bleeding

The CT machine is open and has a table on which the patient lies that slides through the machine.

Key differences between CT scan and MRI

CT scans and MRIs are imaging tools used to diagnose or determine an injury or disease in the body by looking at the internal structure of the body. However, the two procedures have very large differences.

  1. CT Scan is much faster than MRI. A typical CT scan is completed within five minutes, while an MRI can take up to two hours.
  2. An MRI provides a more detailed picture. MRIs can look at abnormal tissue, while CT can only show tissue damage.
  3. For claustrophobic patients, an open CT Scan machine is sometimes a better choice, as not all MRI machines are open.
  4. MRIs do not emit radiation and CT scans do.
  5. CT Scan is a better option for patients with metal implants, pacemakers, or other implanted devices because it does not use the magnetic power of MRI.

Access 24/7 Image Service

A doctor can help decide if an MRI or CT scan is the right procedure for you. At Red River ER & Hospital, our state-of-the-art laboratory facility, matched with our expert staff, provides advanced imaging services. Discover 24/7 access to CT scans and MRIs that give you the results you need faster, more accurately and efficiently.

Disclaimer. As a service to our readers, Red River ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state that no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your physician or other qualified clinician.

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