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IMAGING TESTS: THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A CT SCAN AND AN MRI.

What are imaging tests?

Imaging tests are non-invasive, painless, powerful medical tools that capture the body’s internal parts.

They provide images of tissues and organs in detail, allowing doctors to detect and determine medical conditions and possible solutions.

Usually, a doctor recommends the imaging test a patient carries out based on the patient’s symptoms and the test’s intended use. Also, depending on the clarity needed, more than one imaging test may be recommended to allow for an adequate internal investigation.

IMAGING TESTS
Smiling young nurse looking at patient lying on examination table. Female radiologist is preparing senior man for CAT scan. They are at hospital.

The differences between MRI & CT Scan

Although both an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and a CT (computed tomography) scan exist to achieve the same purposes, how they do so is different.

A CT scan uses x-rays taken at different angles to produce a detailed image of a particular body section. On the other hand, an MRI uses radio waves and an electromagnetic field to deliver clear images of the structures in the body.

Imagining tests

Other differences between the two imaging tests can be found in the table below.

 MRICT Scan
1.Patients are exposed to radiation, which can increase cancer risk and other health challenges.It does not expose patients to radiation.
2.Better suited for producing images of soft tissues, tendons, brain, spine, joint, and ligaments.Better suited for imaging bones, blood vessels, and hard tissues.
3.It is more expensive.It is cheaper.
4.Not advised for people with implants, pacemakers, etc., as the radio waves may heat implants and cause damage.Can be carried out on anyone.
5.The procedure is noisy and can be tasking for someone that is noise sensitive and claustrophobic.The machine is relatively quiet.
6.It is time expensive and can take anywhere from 20-45 minutes, depending on the photographed body part.It is faster and often completed in no more than 10 minutes.

How do doctors decide which imaging test to recommend to a patient?

As mentioned above, your doctor will determine what imaging test to recommend based on your symptoms, prognosis, and existing medical conditions (if you have any).

Thus, a CT scan is more appropriate for patients who cannot hold still or harm themselves when claustrophobic. Also, when a tumor prognosis, brain injury or cancers such as prostate or uterine cancer are suspected, doctors usually recommend an MRI as they allow for easy detection of these conditions. 

In summary, choosing the proper imaging test for a patient depends on the following

  1. The medical reason for the scan.
  2. The level of detail that is necessary for the images.
  3. The medical conditions of the patient.

Where to carry out an imaging test

Please schedule an appointment with us here if you ever need to carry out an MRI or a CT scan.

You may also call us on 016291000 or 016290998 or walk into any Afriglobal Medicare test centre near you for all your diagnostics need and assistance.

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