What kind of imaging exam do you need?
If you’ve ever had an injury or even a certain type of illness, you may have required an imaging exam. Imaging tests use advanced technology to help doctors take a closer look at the body to help diagnose the problem. There are multiple types of imaging exams that serve different purposes. Find out the difference between a CT scan and an MRI so that if you ever need one, you can have an informed conversation with a medical professional.
What is an imaging test?
An imaging test is advanced technology that doctors and radiologists use to capture images inside the body to determine a type of injury or disease. Using radio waves and X-rays, a picture of the internal structures of the body is created. Usually, before an imaging test, a patent is required to drink a contrast that helps the inside of the body show up better in the image.
The type of imaging testing capabilities varies in terms of accessibility, resolution, and power usage.
When to have an MRI?
An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, uses constant radio waves and magnets to view a captured image of the inside of the body. The images produced are highly detailed. MRIs are primarily used to determine a sports injury or musculoskeletal injury. Here are some common areas of the body that an MRI diagnoses:
- Blood vessels
An MRI machine can open or close and is usually very noisy; patients are given earplugs. Patients must remain completely still at all times.
When to have a CT scan?
A CT scan, or CT scan, can be thought of as a huge X-ray machine. Also known as CT scans, CT scans are a more complex form of the plain X-rays most of us are used to. The computerized images consist of a 360-degree view of the body. Some of the common things a CT scan is used for are:
- bone fractures
- Tumor/cancer monitoring
- Internal bleeding
A CT machine is open and has a table that the patient lies on, sliding through the machine.
The key differences between a CT scan and an MRI
CT scans and MRIs are imaging tools used to diagnose or determine injury or disease within the body by looking at the internal structure of the body. However, the two procedures have very large differences.
- A CT scan is much faster than an MRI. A typical CT scan is completed in five minutes, while an MRI can take up to two hours.
- MRIs produce a more detailed image. MRIs can look at abnormal tissue, while a CT scan can only show tissue damage.
- For claustrophobic patients, an open CT machine is sometimes a better option, since not all MRI machines are open.
- MRIs do not emit radiation and CT scans do.
- A CT scan is the best option for patients who have metal implants, pacemakers, or other implanted devices because it does not use the magnetic force of an MRI.
Access the imaging service 24/7
A doctor can help determine if an MRI or CT scan is the right procedure for you. At Red River ER & Hospital, our state-of-the-art onsite laboratory facilities, along with our knowledgeable staff, provide advanced diagnostic imaging services. Discover 24/7 access to CT and MRI scans that give you the results you need faster, more accurately and more efficiently.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Red River ER & Hospital and Nutex Health affirm that no content on this site, regardless of date, should be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your physician or other qualified physicians.