CT scan stands for computed tomography scan, whereas MRI is the abbreviation for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Both of these are sophisticated medical imaging tests to help diagnose the underlying cause of the patient’s problem. Although most of the diagnoses can be done using plain X-rays. However, sometimes the physicians require more sophisticated machines and tests to diagnose the medical issue at hand.
In both the tests, the patient lies down on a table that is moved through a doughnut-shaped structure as images are developed. MRI and CT scans are not the names for the same procedure. There are significant differences between the two, which are described in detail below:
Computed Tomography (CT)
During a CT scan, the X-ray machine rotates around the patient’s body. The images are captured by a computer and cross-sectional slices of the body’s image are created. A CT scan takes 5 minutes or less to complete. They are ideal to use in emergency situations. The problems that can be detected by using a CT scan include bone structures and related issues, kidney stones, acute brain hemorrhage due to stroke or trauma, and problems related to pelvis, lungs, and abdomen.
MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to obtain internal body images. It also generates 3-dimensional images so that it becomes easy for the physician and the radiologist to diagnose the underlying health concern.
MRI is suitable for detecting problems such as injuries to the ligaments surrounding the knees and shoulders, spinal cord injuries and brain issues such as tumors and multiple sclerosis.
Comparing CT scan and MRI
Although MRI and CT scans use the same kind of procedure to be followed they are not the same tests. Broadly speaking, following are the three main differences between MRI and CT scans.
When time is important
MRI scan takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete whereas, it takes hardly 5 to 10 minutes to complete the CT scan procedure. Thus, in emergency situations, where it is important to save the life of the patient, physicians prefer going for a CT scan rather than MRI. During an MRI scan, the person is required to stay still for a long period of time, which can be difficult in situations where the patient is having an intracranial hemorrhage. A CT scan is often the best choice in such kind of situations.
Nature of medical issue at hand
In some situations, like bone fractures and acute bleeding, it is safe and quick to use a CT scan. However, in other scenarios, such as multiple sclerosis or low-grade astrocytoma, where detailed imaging is required, MRI is a better option.
Interference with imaging quality
MRI uses strong magnetic waves to create images. However, certain metal implants in the body can become a hindrance in such type of procedure. On the other hand, CT scan does not give proper results when it is used to test a denser bone such as brain stem.
If you have any other queries related to MRI or CT scan, you can contact us at MRI Lincoln Imaging Centre. We have competent physicians and doctors to answer all your questions and concerns about both procedures.