What Is the Difference Between An MRI and A CAT Scan?


MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, utilizes a highly sophisticated magnet and generates radio waves to scan the structures inside your body. Radiologist and other health professionals use this technology to examine and diagnose different conditions. Today, MRI is used for many conditions and complaints.


MRI is utilized for the following conditions:

  • Abnormalities in the spinal cord
  • Brain anomalies
  • Cysts, tumors and other irregularities in every part of the body
  • Fractures and injuries of the joints, such as knee and hip
  • Heart problems such as clogged arteries and internal bleeding
  • Abnormalities in abdominal organs
  • Examination of pelvic pain in women, endometriosis, and fibroids
  • Infertility evaluation in women and other uterine abnormalities


A patient who is about to undergo an MRI will be asked if they have any metal inside their body or any shrapnel or metallic foreign objects. That can include medical devices and accessories that contain metal. Remove all jewelry before your exam. If the patient is claustrophobic and has a fear of narrow spaces, they should tell ask doctor for medication prior to the scan, to help with claustrophobia and anxiety.

The patient may be injected intravenously with a contrast agent to enhance the visibility of the subject part that is relevant to the evaluation. The patient should always check with their physician for any additional prep needed, the night before the test. The patient should always tell their imaging technician or nurse practitioner if they have any allergies to contrast agents.  The Nurse practitioner and technician will surely also ask the patient a series of questions pertaining to allergies.

CAT Scan

CAT, CT scan, also known as computed tomography scan, is a procedure that allows the radiologists to scan the body. A CAT is a specially designed computer that uses highly advanced XRAY imaging to produce images of your organs, tissues, and other parts of the body. Compared to a conventional X-ray, it creates a more detailed series of images. Again, the emphasis of using a high-speed CT is usually to examine patient’s organs, including the heart.


The following are the uses and purposes of a CT scan:

  • Used for detecting bone anomalies and joint problems such as complex skull fracture and tumors
  • If you have heart disease, cancer, liver masses or emphysema, CAT scan is the medical device of choice
  • A CT is used to show internal damage and bleeding
  • The CT helps to locate infections, blood clots, tumors, and infections
  • The CT is used as a guide for medication plans, biopsies, radiation therapies and surgeries


Before the scan, you will be required not to drink or eat the night before the screening. It will also be necessary to remove all your accessories with metallic material, such as jewelry. During the test, you will be lying on a table surrounded by a doughnut-shaped CT machine. It is normal to experience a buzzing and whirring noise as the table gradually moves around you.

Unnecessary movement can cause blurred images, so observe stillness and try to stay calm while inside the machine.

MRI and CT scan are used for different purposes for different parts of the body. Your physician will determine which modality is best suited for your condition.

Again there may be a dye contrast injection and you will be sked a series of questions regarding allergic symptoms especially towards Iodine based products. Please listen to the questions as they are very important in relationship to the injection of contrast.

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