The Differences Between CT Scans and MRIs

The Differences Between CT Scans and MRIs

Understanding what happens in our bodies is essential to receive the best medical treatment. Using CT scans and MRIs provides insight into our illnesses, but it’s important to note that each scan differs. Read on to learn the differences between CT scans and MRIs and how they determine your course of treatment.

CT Scan

A computerized tomography (CT) scan uses multiple X-ray imaging devices to scan specific body areas. During a CT scan, you’ll lay flat on a table as you slowly enter a donut-shaped machine. As you lay completely still, the machine will take a series of photos to create an image of the area scanned for a radiologist to examine.

The wiring or buzzing sound you hear during the scan is the X-ray devices turning around in the machine as they scan the body in a 360° motion. Moving during the scan may cause the image to become blurry, causing you to need to undergo the scan again.

CT scans help medical professionals detect various illnesses in the body caused by physical masses such as tumors or blood clots. The scan also detects infections, muscle or bone disorders, and other physical symptoms that may worsen illnesses.

Most physicians will use a CT scan before an MRI because of its ability to create a clear image of any obstructions in the body that may cause you to feel ill. The scan is usually quick, only taking 15 minutes in most cases.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

The MRI is another scan that doctors use to see the body’s inner workings. However, an MRI differs from a CT scan in how it scans and what it shows. An MRI scans other parts of the body that CT scans don’t, such as the brain and spinal cord.

An MRI can help where CT scans can’t by showing a more in-depth look at various body parts as it scans for tumors and issues in your joints. The machine uses magnets and radio waves to take images of the body. It is of utmost priority to avoid bringing any metal on or near the machine, as metal could scramble the image or attach to the surface from the magnetic force.

Is It OK To Use Both?

It’s possible to have both a CT scan and an MRI; many people have both under various circumstances. Although both emit different harmful waves in large amounts, you won’t need to worry about any negative effects, even with both scans scheduled on the same day.

If you have complications in brain function or pain that doesn’t have a visible cause, an MRI and CT scan will clear up any mystery. The ability to generate beneficial imaging generated with either scan is one of the greatest benefits of nuclear medicine.

Physicians should approach illnesses when there’s a picture to inspect. Surgeons, endocrinologists, oncologists, and other healthcare professionals agree these scans are valuable.

Knowing the difference between these two scans will help you in the future if you have one scheduled. Understanding why a doctor or nurse requests either gives you more peace of mind and the ability to prepare.

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