The key differences between a CT scan and MRI

The key differences between a CT scan and MRI

What type of imaging exam do you need?

If you ever had an injury or even a certain type of disease, it might have required an imaging exam. Imaging exams use advanced technology to help physicians get a closer look into the body to help diagnose the issue. There are multiple types of imaging exams that serve different purposes. Discover the difference between a CT scan and an MRI image test so that if one is ever needed, you can have an informed discussion with a medical professional.

What is an imaging test?

An imaging test is advanced technology physicians and radiologists use to capture images within the body to determine a type of injury or disease. Using radio waves and x-rays, a photo of the body’s internal structures is created. Usually, before an imaging test, a patent is required to drink a contrast that helps the inner body better show in the image.

The type of imaging test abilities varies when it comes to accessibility, resolution, and energy use.

When to get an MRI?

An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, uses constant radio waves and magnets to view a captured image of the inside of the body. The images produced are highly detailed. MRIs are used mainly to determine a sports injury or a musculoskeletal injury. Here are some common areas of the body an MRI diagnose:

  • Joint
  • Brain
  • Wrist
  • Ankle
  • Breast
  • Heart
  • Blood Vessels

An MRI machine can be opened or closed and are typically very loud – patients are given earplugs. Patients are required to lie completely still the entire time.

When to get a CT Scan?

A CT Scan, or computed tomography scan, can be considered a huge X-ray machine. Also known as CAT scans, CT Scans are a more complex form of the simple X-Rays most of us are used to. The computerized images consist of a 360-degree view of the body. Some of the common things a CT scan is used for are:

  • Bone fractures
  • Tumors/Cancer Monitoring
  • Internal Bleeding

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

The Key Differences Between a CT Scan and MRI

CT Scans and MRIs are imaging tools used to diagnose or determine an injury or illness within the body looking at the internal body structure. However, the two procedures have very vast differences.

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

Access 24/7 Imaging Service

A physician can help determine the correct procedure for you. At NW Indiana ER & Hospital, our state-of-the-art onsite laboratory facility, matched with our expert staff, provides advanced imaging services. Discover 24/7 access to CT Scans that get you the results you need faster, more accurately, and efficiently.

Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, NW Indiana ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.