Doctors often use computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to diagnose internal problems with the body. If your doctor is considering either of these tests (or both), you may want to know what the differences are. Here are two key differences between these two common types of tests.
While both types of scans are used to see the internal parts of the body, each is used for different purposes. CT scans at places like Kinston Medical Specialists PA are used when doctors want to see if there is bleeding in the brain, a blood clot, or a tumor. CT scans clearly show soft tissues, blood vessels, and internal organs.
On the other hand, MRIs are commonly used when doctors are looking at broken bones or tears in ligaments or tendons. There are also times when doctors may want to complete both tests, and this is primarily because each test offers different views, images, and details.
Another difference between these tests is the way the machines work. With CT scans, the machines produce images through radiation. The dosage of radiation is extremely small, but it is still there. MRIs are often considered safer for patients that cannot be exposed to radiation, because they use magnetic imaging instead of radiation.
The Effects On The Patient
The other key difference between a CT scan and an MRI is the way it affects the patient. Going through each of these tests is very different, and you will likely be awake during both. The first difference involves the machine used for the tests.
In an MRI, you are placed on a table into a tunnel. This tunnel contains a large scanner and you must lie completely still during the test. During this, people often feel claustrophobic because they are in an enclosed machine with very little space to even breathe. The machine used for a CT scan is similar, yet different too. The difference is that a CT scan machine is not completely enclosed. Because of this, a CT scan does not usually result in feelings of claustrophobia.
The other thing you should know is that CT scans typically take only five minutes to complete, whereas MRIs can take around 30 minutes.
If your doctor orders one of these tests, you may now understand why and what to expect. Both tests can reveal a lot about the problems you are experiencing, and this is important for diagnosing and treating all types of problems. To learn more about CT scans or MRIs, contact your medical professional today.