CT Scan vs. MRI

CT Scan Vs MRI: What Is Better?

The main purpose of CT scan is to detect any abnormalities in the body parts. There are two types of CT scans, T1 and T2. A T1 scan is used for detecting tumors while a T2 scan is used for detecting other diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer etc. However, there are some cases where both these tests may be necessary especially when the patient has no symptoms or only mild ones.

MRI is used to see inside the body and it’s not just for diagnosis but also for treatment. An MRI machine uses sound waves to create pictures of the internal organs. It helps doctors diagnose various conditions like cancer, stroke, spinal cord injury etc.

When you have a CT scan done, it gives a detailed picture of your body including its structure and composition. When you have an MRI, it shows the same thing but with images. Both of them are very useful tools in medicine.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of each one of these machines. You must decide which one is best for you based on your situation.

What Are The Benefits Of CT Scan Vs MRI?

A CT scan can give a clear image of any type of abnormality in the body parts such as tumors, bleeding vessels, cysts etc. It uses x-rays to create the image and this can be used to detect a number of diseases.

CT Scans can find out information about the organs in your body, these can include the brain, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, blood vessels and more.

This test is faster than an MRI. This means that you will be able to get out of the hospital or doctors office sooner rather than later.

CT scans use less radiation than an MRI. This means that your risk of developing cancer in the future is lower.

What Are The Disadvantages Of CT Scan?

A regular CT Scan can have a significant impact on the environment. It uses a lot of electricity and this can cause a negative impact on the environment.

This test may not be suitable for people who have had an allergic reaction to metal. You may be injected with a dye that contains heavy metals like iodine, iron or copper. If you have had an allergic reaction to these substances in the past, you should not get a CT scan.

What Are The Disadvantages Of MRI?

If you are claustrophobic then an MRI might not be the best option for you. This is because you will have to stay in a tube for quite some time while the scan is being done.

MRI scans may not be suitable for people with implanted medical devices such as a pace maker or metal implants. If you fall into this category you may not be able to get an MRI.

An MRI is quite expensive when compared to a CT scan. If you don’t have medical insurance, then you will have to pay for the entire cost of the scan.

MRI takes a lot longer than a CT scan. You may have to wait quite some time before the entire test is finished.

What Is The Difference Between CT Scan And MRI?

A CT scan and an MRI are medical tests that help in the diagnosis of many diseases and conditions. A CT scan is an abbreviation for Computed Tomography. It uses X-rays to create pictures of the inside of the human body providing a cross sectional image. An MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to provide detailed images of the internal organs.

A CT scan can provide images of the brain, chest, arteries, veins, heart and blood flow and tissue types among others. An MRI uses strong magnetic field and radio waves to show a detailed look at the brain and spinal cord. They are both non-invasive tests that help in different ways to diagnose medical conditions.

Comparison between CT scan and MRI

Basis of development

CT scan uses computer to create images of body organs using X-rays. MRI uses magnet, radio waves and a computer to create images of body organs of the body.

Body parts imaged

CT scan provides images of body organs like brain, lungs, heart, blood vessels, bones and more. MRI provides detailed images of brain and spinal cord.

Side effects and risks

CT scan has minor side effects like headache, nausea and vomiting. MRI has no side effects unless you are allergic to the contrast dye or have a implanted medical device such as a pace-maker.

Time taken

A CT scan provides detailed images of the organs in just seconds. An MRI requires about 30 minutes to analyze image of brain and spinal cord.

Experience of patient

A CT scan is suitable for children and adults. An MRI is not suitable for people with developmental disorders.


Both these tests are very important in medical diagnostics. Each test has its own advantages and disadvantages. A doctor will decide which test is suitable based on the medical condition of the patient.

Sources & references used in this article:

Comparison of CT scan and MRI findings in the diagnosis of Japanese encephalitis by J Kalita, UK Misra – Journal of the neurological sciences, 2000 – Elsevier

Early diagnosis of occult hip fractures: MRI versus CT scan by O Lubovsky, M Liebergall, Y Mattan, Y Weil, R Mosheiff – Injury, 2005 – Elsevier

Inter-observer variability in the delineation of pharyngo-laryngeal tumor, parotid glands and cervical spinal cord: comparison between CT-scan and MRI by X Geets, JF Daisne, S Arcangeli, E Coche… – Radiotherapy and …, 2005 – Elsevier

Lung MRI as a possible alternative to CT scan for patients with primary immune deficiencies and increased radiosensitivity by G Serra, C Milito, M Mitrevski, G Granata, H Martini… – Chest, 2011 – Elsevier

The significance of CT scan or MRI in the evaluation of salivary gland tumors by KH Kim, MW Sung, JB Yun, MH Han, CH Baek… – Auris Nasus …, 1998 – Elsevier

Non-invasive adrenal imaging in primary aldosteronism. Sensitivity and positive predictive value of radiocholesterol scintigraphy, CT scan and MRI by F Lumachi, MC Marzola, P Zucchetta… – Nuclear medicine …, 2003 – journals.lww.com

The tibial tuberosity–trochlear groove distance; a comparative study between CT and MRI scanning by PB Schoettle, M Zanetti, B Seifert, CWA Pfirrmann… – The Knee, 2006 – Elsevier

CT scan and MRI findings in a child with schizophrenia by RC Woody, K Bolyard, G Eisenhauer… – Journal of child …, 1987 – journals.sagepub.com

Alexander’s disease: a case report with brain biopsy, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI findings. by AO Arend, PM Leary, GS Rutherfoord – Clinical neuropathology, 1991 – europepmc.org