Difference between a CT scan and an MRI

CT scan vs MRI: A CT scan is a machine which uses a combination of a series of x-ray images taken from different angles to create images using a computer. An MRI on the other hand, is a machine that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to give detailed images of the body tissues and bones. Below are some of the differences between a CT scan and an MRI.
What is the difference between a CT scan and an MRI?

So What is the Difference between a CT scan and an MRI?

1. How they operate

The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves to view objects inside the body, especially in joints, brain and blood vessel while the computed tomography scans uses X rays to check on bone structures, tumors and to find if there is any internal bleeding. The CT scan produces higher quality images than an MRI scan.

Radiation exposed

In a CT scan, the images that are produced are as a result of many x-rays which exposes one to radiation while in MRI, there is no radiation exposure but it rather uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create the image of the targeted body parts.

The cost to spend

CT scan is less expensive as it uses radiation which makes it less preferred making it a bit cheaper while MRI is relatively more expensive as it’s more secure and needs a lot of resources to perform. This makes it very expensive to access.

Time taken to accomplish the task

CT scan is usually very fast depending on the part of the body as it uses radiations while MRI is very slow as it uses radio waves. It usually takes several hours to finish scanning depending on which part of the body is being scanned. . Usually, parts of the body such as the brain and heart takes a shorter time to avoid extended exposure while other regions like ankles take longer time as there are bones and muscles may take a longer time.

The uses

The CT scan is mainly used to view soft tissues of the body, lungs, and tumors and for cancer detection while the MRI is primarily used in the soft tissues such as tendons, and ligaments. It is also used to check cancer images in details.


CT scan can be very dangerous as the radiations that are produced can cause kidney failure and other related diseases, especially to people with diseases such as diabetes. It is also dangerous to pregnant women and therefore advised pregnant women should not be scanned with CT scan until delivery, unlike MRI which is safer and uses radio waves.

Sound produced

The MRI is very noisy and therefore causes irritation to the person being checked and can also cause related diseases or loss of hearing. A CT scan on the other hand is relatively quiet and less destructive which makes it more comfortable when it comes to noise levels.


The CT scanner is available in most places compared to the MRI. The CT scan can be found in both the developed countries and the developing countries since they are made in abundance as they are easy to manufacture and use. An MRI on the other hand, is only found in selected parts of the globe and it requires a lot of skills for its operation.

Operation: MRI is operated in a small enclosed room when checking on a person and is used to check on a particular part of the body while the CT scan is operated on a larger room and is used mainly to scan the whole body.

Power: The CT scan requires large amounts of power to operate thanks to the huge x-rays radiated during the process. An MRI on the other hand, does not require large amounts of power to operate making it cheaper. .

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