At first glance, MRI and CT scans may seem like the same thing. After all, they do both capture and process images of the body in line with the requirements of medical professionals. Although both procedures have the same end goal, there are several differences between an MRI and a CT scan:
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines rely on the power of large magnets to capture images. They are often used to capture high-detail images of soft tissues, like knee ligaments, in the body. MRIs are also often used to diagnose or track the status of certain diseases that affect the liver, gallbladder, and heart. Although the images produced by MRIs are highly detailed, an MRI requires patients to stay absolutely motionless for the duration of the scan. However, it is easy to request for multiple MRIs since the procedure does not expose patients to radiation.
CT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scans are often used to check the condition of bones, certain soft tissue, and blood vessels. The process of a CT scan is much faster than an MRI, but isn’t an ideal option for many due to the use of radiation. This is especially true for pregnant women and young children. The procedure may also involve the use of a contrast agent which, if needed, is administered an hour or two before your scan. The substance found in the liquid shines differently when exposed to x-ray radiation, creating clean and clear images.
Which One is Right for You?
Both processes are great at what they do. However, MRIs often have an advantage over CT scans when it comes to capturing images of soft tissue, plus the fact that the machine does not use x-rays. Whichever one is right for you will depend on your situation and the expertise of your attending physician.
What’s The Difference Between CAT Scans And MRI Scans?, Forbes.com