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What is the difference between MRI scan & CT scan?

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MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a fairly new technique that has been used since the beginning of the 1980s.

The MRI scan uses magnetic and radio waves, meaning that there is no exposure to X-rays or any other damaging forms of radiation. The patient lies inside a large, cylinder-shaped magnet. Radio waves 10,000 to 30,000 times stronger than the magnetic field of the earth are then sent through the body. This affects the body's atoms, forcing the nuclei into a different position. As they move back into place they send out radio waves of their own. The scanner picks up these signals and a computer turns them into a picture. These pictures are based on the location and strength of the incoming signals. Read more

The CT (Computed Tomography) scan or the CAT (Computer-Aided Tomography) scan is a diagnostic procedure that takes a detailed cross-sectional x-ray picture of a "slice" of the body.

To get a CT scan, the patient lies very still on a table, which is slowly moved horizontally while the x-ray machine rotates around the patient and takes pictures from many angles. A computer then combines the pictures into a very detailed cross-sectional image. The length of the procedure depends on the areas to be x-rayed. For the chest area, the procedure takes about 20 seconds. Read more

Difference between MRI & CT Scan

MRI is Magnetic Resonance Imaging and a CAT is a computerized X Ray (Computer Assisted Tomography)

MRI will work fine in case of diagnosis of soft tissues and CT will work fine for bony structures and inner ear analysis.

Also MRI do not use any radiation it is based on magnetic effect so less side effects compared to CT which uses X- rays.
MRI is very much costlier compared to CT.

MRI is problematic in case if the patient is having some metallic implant, which will cause interference with the magnetic field.
In order to determine any hairline crack then MRI would be preferred compared to CT.

Read more information about MRI scan

Read more information about CT scan

Comparison chart

  CT Scan MRI
Acronym for: Computed (Axial) tomography Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Application: Suited for bone injuries,Lung and Chest imaging,cancer detection Suited for ligament and tendon injury,spinal cord injury,brain tumors
Scope of application: CT can outline bone inside the body very accurately. MRI is more versatile than the X-Ray and is used to examine a large variety of medical conditions.
Principle: X-ray attenuation was detected by detector & DAS system, follow by math. model (back projection model) to calculate the value of pixelsm then become a imag. Makes use of the fact that body tissue contains lots of water (and hence protons) which gets aligned to large magnetic field to produce net MDM vector.The decay of MDM is detected as MR signal.
Ability to change the imaging plane without moving the patient: With capability of MDCT, after helical scan with Mlti-plane Reformation function, an operator can constructe any plane. MRI machines can produce images in any plane.
Principle used for imaging: Uses X-rays for imaging Uses large external field,RF pulse and 3 different gradient fields
Cost: CT Scan costs range from $1,200 to $3,200; they usually cost less than MRIs. MRI costs range from $1200 to $4000 (with contrast); which is usually more than CT scans and X-rays, and most examining methods.
Details of bony structures: Provides good details about bony structures Less detailed compared to CT scan
Time taken for complete scan: Usually completed within 5 minutes Scanning typically run for about 30 minutes.
Details of soft tissues: Less tissue contrast compared to MRI Much higher detail in the soft tissues
Effects on the body: Despite being small, CT can pose the risk of irradiation. No biological hazards have been reported with the use of the MRI.
Radiation exposure: Moderate to high radiation None
Limitation for Scanning patients: Patients with any Metal implants can get CT scan Patients with Cardiac Pacemakers are not allowed to get MRI scan done

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