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April 14th, 2013

MRI vs CT Scans: What’s the Difference?

CT scanner

Doctors use various tests and procedures to examine the body and determine what is wrong with it. MRIs and CT scans are useful tools but serve very different purposes. CT scans are better suited for recording images of the lungs and the chest cavity and can be beneficial in diagnosing cancer, pneumonia and other respiratory issues. MRIs, on the other hand, are best for visualizing tendons, ligaments and other components associated with joints and bone.

MRIs work by recording magnetic waves that resonate by bouncing off of water molecules in the body and recording an image on film, much like an x-ray. The radio frequency introduced interacts with the magnetic waves to produce the image that is produced. The CT scan uses an x-ray beam to slice through the body enabling micro thin sections that are recorded and viewed on a computer screen.

MRIs are similar to x-rays. They are recorded on x-ray film and viewed in much the same way. CT scans are brightly colored and show great detail. Their definition allows the doctor to see even the smallest of problems and are highly accurate when used to diagnose illness and disease.

Both MRIs and CT scans are extremely beneficial when used to diagnose and treat illnesses. They provide an accurate look inside the human body that would only be possible if during a surgical procedure. Even with surgery, it is possible an MRI or CT scan could offer more information. The diagnostic tool used will depend on what the doctor is looking for and what part of the body is being examined.

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