Difference Between CT Scan and MRI of Brain


There are some differences between a CT scan and an MRI of the brain and they both have their advantages. The two scanning machines look identical when you see them but there are some major differences.

How These Two Scanning Machines Work

The main difference between a CT Scan and an MRI is the way the two scanning devices work. The CT scan uses x-rays to scan the body and to capture pictures in the details. CT Scan exposes one to forms of radiation. The CT machines have become faster over time thus the patient is exposed to a lower level of radiation today. The MRI uses magnetism to produce detailed pictures of the structures of the brain. There is no radiation involved in an MRI.

The Advantages Of The CT Scan

1. The CT is faster than the MRI . It is known to be used before an MRI when there is trauma or other acute injuries. MRI’s can take up to two hours. The CT is the scan most likely used in the emergency room.

2. CT Scans are less sensitive to patients that are moving during the examination. They don’t take as long so it makes them less sensitive. CT scans are better for patients with anxiety because of the minimum time required. Also better for people that have a fear of small places because of less time involved in the scans.

3. The CT Scans cost a lot less than an MRI. About half of what an MRI costs.

4. CT scans can be performed easier on patients with implants of medical devices such as pacemakers.

5. CT Scans are better for heavy people because it does not need a lot of position changing.

The Advantages Of The MRI

1. The MRI is much better for children and capturing multiple images because of the lack of radiation involved. The MRI is safer for repeated use by the patients who need lots of scans. CT’s are even known to cause cancer if used multiple times.

2. MRI’s have a greater capacity and range for details of the brain. It captures more detail when there are brain abnormalities. MRI’s have 3D imaging capabilities.

3. The MRI has less risk for allergic individuals. These risks by allergic patients can be lethal.

4. MRI captures a greater evaluation of a structure in the brain when there are obstructions. Best for more complex issues.

5. MRI provides for better contrasts than CT Scans You can better highlight images in the brain. For the detection of brain tumors the MRI is considered a much better choice.

Depending on your age, condition and the time needed for an evaluation there are two ways to see what is going on in the brain without being invasive.