CT and MRI are essential imaging techniques in today’s world. We rely heavily on reports from the CT and MRI scan for a detailed picture of the inside.
MRI uses a magnetic field to picture the desired body part or organ. For the same purpose, a CT scan uses an x-ray.
Both investigations are detailed, non-invasive, and sensitive; however, each choice varies depending on the condition to be diagnosed.
What is an MRI?
MRI is also known as the Magnetic resonance imaging technique. It uses radio waves produced by large magnets to create pictures of the inside of the body. The waves penetrate the body and are reflected off the tissues depending on the tissue densities. The reflected waves create a picture of the organ.
It is done with the help of a large machine. The machine has a tunnel-like structure and a bed that slides into it. The large ring has magnets that rotate with loud noises to produce magnetic waves.
The patient may be asked to stay very still during the scan for a few minutes when the pictures are taken.
It can be done to visualize the following:
- Blood vessels
It has a very high definition of soft tissues. The reports help diagnose, plan, and treat the condition.
What is a CT scan?
CT, computed tomography, or the CAT scan, is a machine that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional images of the body and organs.
It is mainly used for the following:
- Interstitial lung disease
- Bleeding inside the body cavity
- Fracture of the bones.
Patients lie on a table that moves through the CT machine during the process.
CT scan vs. MRI scan
CT scan is more commonly used and cheaper than an MRI. MRI is used when a detailed image of the site of the lesion is required.
CT has the following disadvantages:
- It can be teratogenic to the fetus and is therefore avoided in pregnant mothers
- Repeated CT scans can, over time, lead to prolonged exposure to radiation.
- There can be adverse reactions to the contrast in the CT.
MRI can cause the following issues
- Loud banging sounds of the machine can lead to temporary hearing issues
- Going inside the machine can cause claustrophobia.
- There can be an increase in body temperature during long MRIs
- It functions with the help of a giant magnet. Therefore it can lead to the disturbance of metal implants and electrical devices in the scanner.
However, adequate precautions are taken before the scans, and the risk from the scans is minimal. Both are very efficient scans that give detailed information about the body parts and organs.
How to choose between MRI and CT scan?
CT is more commonly used as it is faster, cheaper, and readily available than MRI. MRI is better used to visualize soft tissues. Some conditions are better seen on CT scans, like brain stroke and soft tissue injuries, and are better seen on an MRI. The Doctor ultimately, keeping all the factors in mind, decides the scan that’s needed to be done.