Before going into the details of CT scan vs MRI, one must know that what exactly CT scan and MRI are.

What is CT Scan?  

CT scan or CAT scans is a combination of both X-rays and computer. This technique is a specialized technique that produces a cross-sectional image o the various body parts. CT scan is an acronym for computerized topography, whereas it is also called as CAT which is an acronym for computerized axial tomography.

CT scan technique was created by two persons, one was an engineer, and the other one was the doctor. Now this technology that was developed in around 1974 has become the backbone for diagnosing many medical issues. This technique has also won a noble prize because with it the diagnosis has become a piece of cake.

Benefits of CT Scan 

  • CT scan provides patient compliance
  • Better resolution of the images
  • Quick testing
  • Quick interpretation of results
  • CT scan even can diagnose a smallest nodule and tumor which is unable to diagnose with the simply X-ray technique

What is MRI?

The first ever MRI technique was established when two persons from the Stanford and Harvard University studied some compounds. This technique was also awarded by Noble prize. In late 1900, the MRI scanners were available in the market to be used for the diagnostic purpose.

Benefits of MRI

  • MRI produces 2D images
  • Also, produces 3D images of any part of the body

Types of MRI

Brain MRI 

People who are suffering from persistent seizures, epilepsy, migraine, eyesight and hearing issues will be under brain MRI. It is also used to analyze further the problem that was previously seen in CT scan. Brain MRI uses special equipment called as head coils which only surrounds the head without touching it. These coils then produce either 2D or 3D pictures to examine the problem.

Spine MRI

People with leg, neck or arm issue will undergo a spine MRI. This technique is also used to diagnose a hernia.

Bone and Joint MRI 

People with arthritis, bone or joint dislocation use this technique to diagnose the major problem. To identify the infection the bone or joint MRI is used.

Abdomen MRI 

Abdomen MRI will only give images of the liver pancreas and adrenal glands. Before undergoing abdominal MRI, a person is usually subject to either endoscopy or CT scan before it.

Pelvic MRI 

Women who are unable to conceive undergo this particular kind of MRI. This MRI technique gives a detailed view of the uterus and ovaries. Even the cancers of the prostate and uterus are diagnosed with this technique.

The Differences Between CT Scan Vs MRI

  1. CT scans and MRI both have a similar purpose, but they are used differently for the diagnosis. CT scan works on the principle on X-ray. These rays are ionized and gets excited when sent into the body. These rays are then rotated at various angles thus taking the images of different parts of the body. When these images are placed on the screen, it gives a clear view of the cross-sectional areas of the body, thus revealing the presence of injury or disease.
  2. On the other hand, MRI, which is an acronym for magnetic resonance imagining, uses the magnetic rays instead of x-rays. This technique also uses the radio waves. MRI works by first aligning the body’s protons and then the radio waves are applied to this stream of protons. A signal is generated that is detected by the MRI scanner, and a 3D image is formed on the computer screen which then enables the doctors to have a clear view of the diseases parts.
  3. The other major difference between the MRI and CT technique is based on time. Typically, CT scan takes less time than MRI and produces the diagnostic reports within minutes. The average duration of CT scan is 5 minutes whereas the MRI might take 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. The purpose behind both the techniques remains same only in some cases whereas, they are used differently. The CAT scan is helpful when the doctors want to examine the parts like
  • Head
  • Abdomen
  • Chest
  • Spinal cord
  • Pelvic region
  • Presence of fracture

This technique is also used for determining the location, size and diameter of a tumor.

  • On the other hand, the MRI technique is used for parts like joints, bones, tendons and ligaments.
  • MRI is also used to confirm the results obtained via CT scan. MRI offers 3D imaging whereas CT scan gives 2D imaging, so that is why doctors prefer MRI in severe cases where it becomes mandatory to make the accurate diagnosis.

CT scan vs MRI scan debate will go on for decades but it is not possible to say which technique is better because both have different purposes and both are hence useful techniques.


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