CT Scan vs. MRI

The main difference between CT Scan and MRI is that CT Scan relays heavily on radiations while in MRI there is no involvement of radiations at all.

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CT Scan vs. MRI

Comparison Chart

Basis of DistinctionCT ScanMRI
DefinitionCT Scan is an inner body examining system that takes 5-20 minutes and generates 360 degrees and crosses sectional views of the body. It utilizes the X-rays waves.MRI deploys magnetic field and radio waves with the help of advanced computer system to get the detailed images of internal body structures.
ShapeDonut shapeTraining bed shape
Test DurationNormally lasts 5 minutesCan lasts 30 minutes or even more
Major UsageSuitable for examining organs and body detailSuitable for seeing soft tissue
Image SpecificsCan collectively take diagnostic images of bonds, blood vessels, and soft issuesLess detailed. Suitable for examining differences between different types of soft issues
Effects on the BodyCarry greater risks because of the usage of radiationsNo biological hazards and risk at all
Comfort LevelComfort due to claustrophobicsStressful because of claustrophobia
SensitivitySensitive to acute hemorrhageInsensitive
Visualization60% acute strokes visualized80% acute strokes visualized
ArtifactsMetal artifactsFerromagnetic artifacts
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What is CT Scan?

Stand for Computerized (Axial) Tomography; CT scanner deploys X-rays to generates the images of the body along with bones. In CT scanning, the X-ray tube rotates around the patient laying on the table. On the opposite side of the patient from the tube, there is X-ray detector that receives the beam and makes it through the patient. CT scanner has the capacity to examine the different levels of tissues and density inside a solid organ and can deliver more detailed information (in shape of the image) of the body including head, chest, skeletal system, pelvis and hips, bladder, reproductive systems and gastrointestinal tract. The main advantage of getting a CT scan is that these offers patient comfort and faster scanning times and delivers the high-resolution images. However, it is still lacking in making the clear differences between normal and abnormal tissues.

What is MRI?

Stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI is a type of body scanning that deploys strong level of magnetic fields and radio pulses to generate detailed images of the internal structure of the body. MRI is often ordered to get the clear examination of almost any part of the body that includes bones and joints, brain and spinal cord, heart and blood vessels, breasts, and internal organs. Due to non-deployment of radiation and X-rays, MRI can take a longer time that can be extended to even two hours. However, one of the main benefits of MRI is that it has no biological hazards at all.  Most of the time, MRI is recommended over the CT Scan when either approach could result in the same diagnostic information.

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Key Differences

  1. CT Scan can be used in both cases either you have metal implants in the body or not while MRIs can’t be done if the patient has metal implants in the body.
  2. CT Scan is more affordable than MRIs. MRI price can be doubled of CT Scan.
  3. CT Scan is helpful for diagnosing infection and make the surgeons able to identify tumors and masses. MRI is helpful for diagnosing abnormalities throughout the body like brain aneurysms and tumors.
  4. CT Scan usually takes five minutes to take a high-resolution image while MRIs may take fifteen to two hours to take a standard image.
  5. CT Scan delivers more detailed results as compared to MRI.
  6. CT Scan is suitable for lung and chest imaging, bone injuries, and cancer detection. MRI is suitable for soft tissue examination like tendon and ligament injury, brain tumors and spinal cord injury.
  7. CT Scan deploys X-rays for imaging while MRI, large external field, three different gradient fields and RF pulse are deployed for imaging.
  8. MRI generates almost all types of images that include axial, coronal, sagittal, and angled while CT Scan generates axial and coronal images only.
  9. It’s hard to get the dynamic diagnostic information in case of CT scanning while in the case of MRI it is relatively easy.
  10. MRI delivers the clear differences between normal and abnormal tissues as compared to CT Scan.
  11. CT Scans show the bones of the spine much better than MRI, so it is more useful in diagnosing conditions affecting the vertebrae and other bones of the spine.
  12. CT Scan is more comfortable for claustrophobic patients as they are less noisy and shorter than MRI.
  13. CT Scan provides good details about bony structures while MRI provides less detailed structures.

Video Explanation

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