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MRI vs CT: What’s The Difference?

Picture1Your doctor informs you that you need an MRI or CT scan.  We’re here to assure you that CT’s and MRI are both painless procedures with important uses. In addition, huge advances have been made so it’s much easier now to have these scans if you have a tendency to be claustrophobic. Let’s take a closer look at each scan to see which is best for you and your imaging needs.

What is an MRI?

MRI stands for “magnetic resonance imaging.” It’s a type of scan that can produce a detailed snapshot of parts of the body, including the brain. It’s an imaging technique—radiation isn’t used and there are no known side effects or risks linked with having an MRI scan, once the Radiographer has checked the patient over for metal.

An MRI scan is used to determine or identify the following:

  • Causes of pelvic pain in women
  • Status of brain conditions
  • Potential uterine abnormalities in women with infertility issues
  • Cysts, tumors other abnormalities in various parts of the body
  • Abnormalities of the joints
  • Injuries or back pain
  • Certain kinds of heart problems
  • Diseases of abdominal organs
  • Abnormalities of the spinal cord and the brain

While MRI’s are typically a longer procedure than a CT scan, your doctor may have requested that you have a CT scan over an MRI depending on your needs. Just like the MRI, it’s non-invasive and it’s accurate. For those reasons, it can reveal internal injuries and bleed quickly enough to help save lives.

A CT scan stands for  “computerized tomography”(CT) since it uses a computer that takes data from several X-ray images of structures inside your body. After converting them into pictures on a monitor, tomography generates a two-dimensional image of a section or slice through a three-dimensional object.

Unlike an X-ray machine that sends just one radiation beam, a CT scan emits a series of narrow beams through the body as it moves through an arc. The final image is a lot more detailed than an X-ray image because, inside the scanner, there’s an X-ray detector, which can see hundreds of different levels of density and tissues inside a solid organ. The data is transferred to a computer, which builds up a 3D cross-sectional picture of the part of the body and bam, it’s shown on the screen. Sometimes a contrast dye is used. The whole process usually lasts about 5 – 20 minutes.

Oncologists and Radiologists use the CT scan to:

  • Assist in planning for, and to assess, the results of surgery, such as organ

transplants or gastric bypass

  • Guide minimally invasive tumor treatments, biopsies, abscess drainages and

minimally invasive tumor treatments

  • Identifies injuries due to trauma to the heart, liver, kidneys, bowel, lungs and


  • Administer and plan radiation treatments for tumors and monitor reaction to


  • Measures bone mineral density for the detection of osteoporosis


While both procedures have the benefits, your area of concern will determine if CT or MRI is best for you. If your doctor recommends an MRI, Open MRI of Pueblo can provide you with the superior imaging quality and care tailored to your needs.


What You Need To Know About CT Scans!



Everything you need to know about (1)Even though we don’t provide CT scans, at Open MRI of Pueblo, we believe that our patients should know about all medical imaging procedures. So one day, if our patients need a CT scan, they will know what a CT scan is all about. Let’s learn more about this medical imaging procedure.


What is a CT Scan?

According to MedicalNet, a computerized tomography (CT) is an x-ray procedure that combines numerous x-ray images, cross-sectional views, and 3D images of the internal organs and structures of the body. That’s medical talk for saying it basically takes a bunch of pictures of your internal structures and creates one final product so your doctor can see what’s going on.


What are the common uses of a CT Scan?

A CT Scan is useful for a variety of needs. Here’s a list detailing the common uses of a CT Scan:

  1. Examining traumatic injuries such as head trauma from a car accident
  2. Examining patients experiencing shortness of breath or abdominal pain
  3. Detecting many forms of cancer (lung, liver, etc.)
  4. Evaluating spinal issues, bone injuries, muscles, and blood vessels


How long does it take?

CT Scans are notoriously known as a quick procedure. The actual scan itself can take as little as a few minutes. However, the total amount of time including your preparation, scan, and reading is estimated to be about an hour or less. This is why it is commonly used in the ER to get a quick read on a patient’s situation.


How much radiation will I be exposed to?

A CT Scan will expose the patient to radiation due to the use of x-ray images. According to Radiology Info, an average dose of radiation from a CT Scan can range from 10-20 mSv. So, what does that mean? A dose of 10 mSv is equivalent to the amount of natural radiation you would be exposed to in 3 years and a dose of 20 mSv is equivalent to the amount of radiation you would naturally be exposed to in 7 years. However, doctors mutually agree that the benefits significantly outweigh the low risks of radiation.


Now that you know all about CT scans, we hope that if you ever need one you will be prepared! If you need an MRI, make an appointment with us at Open MRI of Pueblo today!