Differences between MRI and CT scan

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Are an MRI and a CT scan the same?

MRI and CT scans are both used for scanning the internal structure of humans. Most people, especially those not conversant with the medical field, mistake MRI and CT because they serve the same purpose. However, the significant difference between MRI and CT scans is the type of image produced after scanning. The difference in the image produced is due to the type of magnetic field used. MRI scanning utilizes strong magnetic fields or radio waves, while CT scan uses X-ray for its scanning. MRI scans produce a detailed image of the body's internal structure, but CT scans are more commonly used because they are more affordable. CT scans are faster when producing images of internal organs and the skeleton.

CT scan[edit]

CT is an acronym for computed tomography. Radiology technologists perform CT scans on patients for diagnosis in the patient's internal structure using an imaging technique. CT scans help detect conditions such as a bone defect, internal bleeding and even tumors. CT scans are very helpful at spoting disease in the body that hasn't manifested physically yet. CT scans are swift and painless, which makes it comfortable for patients to be scanned.


MRI is an acronym for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI scans are used to provide detailed an image of the physiological processes of the body. MRI uses radio waves or a strong magnetic fields for producing images of the internal body. MRI scans can detect brain injury, brain tumor, strokes, dementia and several other diseases. When a patient receives an MRI scan, they won't feel any pain because the radio waves won't affect them.

MRI CT scan
Principle of imaging It does not use radiation. It uses radiation and x-rays.
Price MRI are usually expensive procedures. CT scan are somewhat affordable. Most insurances cover them.
Application MRI are suited for tissue evaluation. CT scan are better suited for detection of bone injuries.
Duration MRI scan takes longer time, usually an hour but could last up to two hours. CT scans take less than 30 minutes usually.

Venn Diagram: CT scan vs MRI[edit]