Difference between CT Scan and MRI

Difference between CT Scan and MRI


CT scan and MRI are widely used imaging techniques. Both have the same use but generate images in different ways. An MRI uses powerful magnetic fields, radio waves, and a computer to generate images whereas a CT scan uses X-Rays to generate images. MRIs produce more detailed images as compared to CT scan but CT scan is more common and less expensive. In this article, we will go through some differences between CT scans and MRIs.

What are they?

These are both imaging methods that are done to get images of the inside structure of the body including soft tissues, blood vessels, bones, etc.

CT scans are quite common and less expensive as compared to MRIs. In this, the patient lies in a large X-Ray machine known as a CT scanner whereas, in MRI, the patient lays down in an MRI scanner during the process.

The methods used in both the process is different as CT scan involves X-ray images and MRI does not.

X-Ray, Mri, Ct Scan, Computed Tomography

Image Source

What are their uses?

Though CT scan and MRI both provide details of the inside structure of the body but MRI provides more accurate images as compared to CT scan.

CT scan is done to examine:

Internal bleeding

Development of cancer and response of the body to its treatment

Fractures in the bone


MRI is done to diagnose problems with joints, bones, and organs including:







Blood vessels

What is the procedure?

In both procedures, you need to lie down straight without any movement during the process. CT scan machines are quiet and take various X-ray images from different angles. Comparatively, X-rays produce more noise and you need a headphone during the process.

Are they safe?

Usually, CT scan and MRIs are safe processes but CT scan has a slight risk as it uses ionizing radiation which may affect biological tissues. That is the reason why MRI and ultrasound are recommended for pregnant women.


These are done considering various factors –

Whether a person is claustrophobic

The medical reason

Level of detail

Whether a woman is pregnant


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