It can be hard to focus and take in all of the important information you need when you’re in the consultation room with your doctor. When you’re injured, your mind is divided in many places. You might be wondering about the cost of the visit, how you can heal best, and the pain you’re experiencing all at once. That is why we recommend bringing a friend or family member with you to help take notes and fill in the gaps where you were distracted.
That being said, we can recommend a few different treatment and diagnostics to help pinpoint exactly what is going on with your injury or illness. Before you get overwhelmed by the options, keep reading for a few differences between two very popular and useful diagnostic tests: the MRI and CT scan.
CT scans work by taking multiple X-ray images which are then combined to form more complete images. A CT scan is the ultimate combination of those X-ray images which were taken at different angles. They can help us see more information about what is going on inside.
Alternatively, an MRI uses magnetic fields and radiofrequency pulses to create detailed pictures of organs and other internal body structures. They do not use X-rays.
Through its technological advances, MRIs can provide more detailed information about the inner organs and soft tissues like the brain, skeletal system, reproductive system, and other organ systems. A CT scan will not provide all of the details an MRI can, though that may not be necessary for your specific concern.
MRI scans are not invasive, but they can be quite noisy. They also take more time to complete, and may cause claustrophobia in some patients as they sit in the machine and hold very still. CT scans are quick, painless, and aren’t invasive. Often, they are preferable because of these reasons.
CT scans utilize radiation (via X-rays), and MRIs do not. If you’re worried about cancer risk because of radiation, that is something to take into account. Though, generally speaking, you would need to have many CT scans performed to absorb dangerous levels of radiation. Understanding the amount of radiation in your life already can help you make this decision.