- How an MRI Works: An MRI machine uses a large, tube-shaped magnet to produce cross-sections of your body. When a patient lies inside an MRI machine, the magnet excites water molecules in your body. Meanwhile, radio waves are bounced off of these molecules, creating the image that doctors use to survey the patient’s health.
- What an MRI Tests For: MRI’s are useful for investigating bones, organs, and various body tissues without the need for invasive surgery. MRI scans focusing on bones can detect infection. MRI scans focusing on organs can detect tumors. MRI scans focusing on veins can detect heart disease or dangerous build up of plaque.
- How a CT Scan Works: A CT scan is a specific X-ray technique. Patients lie in the center of a circular X-ray unit, which provides cross sectional images of the patient’s body. Unlike with an MRI, X-rays expose patients to a small amount of radiation.
- What a CT Scan Tests For: CT scans can be used to investigate the details of tumors, fractures, clots, bones and organs. Patients undergoing a CT scan may also ingest a contras liquid to emphasize certain aspects of the scan.
- CT vs. MRI: Generally, an MRI will take longer and cost more than a CT scan. An MRI is more effective at scanning softer tissues and joints. CT scans usually show greater detail in bones, organs, and blood vessels.
- For women ages 50-74, a mammogram is recommended every two years to screen for breast cancer. The National Institutes of Health website tells you how to prepare and what to expect during the procedure.
- Computed tomography (a CT or CAT scan) is a powerful tool that aids doctors in precisely diagnosing conditions like hemorrhagic stroke or gallbladder disease. MedicineNet gives reasons for why a CT scan might be indicated for your condition.
- Kidney stones are formed by calcium deposits accumulating in the kidneys, the blood’s primary filtration system, and they can be extremely painful. Find out how imaging procedures are used to diagnose stones at the Mayo Clinic website.
- Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is an imaging technique utilizing the magnetic fields generated by hydrogen atoms in the body to form a 3-D picture. Discovery Health shows you how this technology uses powerful magnets to diagnose problems like brain or spinal cord damage.
- For advanced stage diseases, like cancer and Alzheimer’s, a technology called positron emission tomography (PET) is employed to look at active tissue function (instead of a static picture). Learn more about how a PET scan works at WebMD.
Developments in medical technology have allowed physicians to diagnose patients faster and more accurately than ever before. Two of the most commonly used technological tools used for diagnosis are computerized tomography scans (CT scans) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Both techniques are similar in that they give doctors extra clues about the inside of your bodies without the need for invasive procedures, but there are many differences in their design and application. A quick comparison illustrates these differences and may help you make a more informed health decision.
Want to know more about CT scans and MRI testing? Interested in locating your nearest Dallas imaging center? Entrust your health concerns to the imaging experts at Southwest Diagnostic. Visit our website or call (888) 530-1053 for more information.
Technological advances in medical imaging have made accurate diagnosis easier than ever before. Physicians now rely on CT and MRI scans to pinpoint injuries and to rule out potentially serious conditions like appendicitis. For more information on this technology, check out these helpful links.
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